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Rajkot: Fake notes of new Rs 2,000/500 worth Rs 26.10 lakh seized; two arrested

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two persons were arrested on Monday with counterfeit currency in the denominations of newly introduced Rs 2,000 and Rs 500, having a face value of Rs 26,10,000, police said.”Acting on a tip-off, the city crime branch sleuths intercepted a car at Hanuman Madhi area and arrested two persons with fake currency notes of Rs 2,000 with face value of Rs 26 lakh, and of Rs 500 with face value of Rs 10,000,” Rajkot Commissioner of Police Anupam Singh Gehlot told mediapersons here.The arrested persons were identified as Hruday Jagani and Lakshman Chauhan, both hailing from Ahmedabad, he said.The notes were kept inside the speaker box of the car in which they were travelling, Gehlot said.He said a high quality colour printing machine was also seized from their possession which was used to print the currency notes.The cover of notes’ bundles bore the tag and seal of a public sector bank to make them look like original, he said.”Hruday used to work as a printer and has a sound technical know-how of printing and cutting notes with perfection so that they look like original,” Gehlot said.”The mastermind was identified as one Jignesh Shah, who is a land broker in Ahmedabad. Jignesh would find customers looking to exchange their old currency notes, and would order printing of notes after he struck a deal with his customers,” the senior police officer said.A search is on to nab Shah.He said the accused might have supplied several such notes since demonetisation came into effect on November 9.”They would bring such notes into circulation in different ways. They’d hide duplicate notes in the bundle of original notes so that it was supplied easily, and would earn around Rs 15,000-20,000 on supply of Rs 2 lakh,” Gehlot said.”Another modus operandi was to hide blank notes below the Rs 2,000 lookalike duplicate notes,” he said.Gehlot said ever since demonetisation came into effect, around Rs 2 crore worth of old notes and Rs 70 lakh of new notes were seized from Rajkot alone.

FCRA cancellation forces NGO to lay off its 80-odd staff

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Facing cash crunch after the cancellation of FCRA licence, Gujarat-based NGO Navsarjan Trust, which was working for Dalit rights for the last 27 years, has sought resignation of its 80-odd employees and said that the three schools run by it shall be closed.Managing Trustee of Navsarjan Trust, Martin Macwan said the NGO was unable to pay for the salaries of its staff after the Centre revoked its licence to get foreign funds under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).”It is impossible for us to pay salaries of our employees after the Centre cancelled our FCRA licence. We are facing acute cash crunch due to that move. Thus, we have asked all our 80-odd employees to tender their resignations,” Macwan told PTI.Macwan founded this NGO in 1989 to fight for the rights of Dalits and to take up issues concerning them, such as manual scavenging and social boycott.According to him, the NGO needs around Rs 2.75 crore annually to meet various expenses.”We are largely dependent on the funds from foreign sources to meet our expenses, which runs into Rs 2.75 crore per annum. About 85% of that comes from foreign countries. Now, as our FCRA licence has been cancelled, it is impossible to run our operations or to pay salaries from what we get from local sources,” said Macwan.Apart from running various awareness programs for the upliftment of Dalits across the state, the NGO also runs three schools, one each in Ahmedabad, Surendranagar and Patan district. Now, these schools, where 102 students of 5th standard to 9th standard, are enrolled, are on the verge of closure, said Macwan.”These three schools, which impart education to 102 students of extremely poor Dalit and tribal communities, are having 12 teachers. Now, we have to shut these schools too, as we are unable to pay their salaries and meet other operational expenses. These teachers will be asked to leave only after the completion of this academic session,” said Macwan.A week back, seven NGOs, including Navsarjan Trust, were barred by the Centre government from receiving foreign funds after their FCRA licences were cancelled following alleged adverse intelligence reports against them.The decision has been taken after the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) conducted an inquiry into the functioning of the NGOs whose FCRA licences were renewed in the recent past.

Gujarat liquor ban: Govt hopes to get Governor nod for new stringent rules

Ahmedabad: Gujarat Government on Tuesday said Governor OP Kohli has given a “positive” response to granting approval to an ordinance that seeks to tighten rules against sale and consumption of alcohol in the State and enhance punishment for offenders.

The ordinance, seeking to make necessary amendments in the Gujarat Prohibition Act, was approved by the Cabinet on December 15 and sent for the Governor’s nod. The decree proposes stringent action against bootleggers, tipplers and unscrupulous officials.

Representational image. AFP.

Representational image. AFP.

Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja told reporters at Gandhinagar that Raj Bhavan is very “positive” about the ordinance and it was likely to be signed and returned to the Government with approval by Wednesday.

“As the Government is keen to implement the new Act as early as possible, Raj Bhavan has shown a positive view on the ordinance and conveyed to us that the Governor would sign it and return to us by tomorrow.

“As soon as the ordinance gets approval, the new Act will come into force with immediate effect,” said Jadeja.

Some of its key provisions include a significant increase in the penalty as well as jail term for those involved in the purchase, sale and transportation of liquor in Gujarat, where total prohibition is in force.

Under the proposed law, accused in such cases would face up to 10 years in jail and a fine of Rs 5 lakh instead of the three-year punishment under the current Act, an official release said.

Similarly, the liquor den operators, as well as those helping them, would face imprisonment up to 10 years. In another major amendment, people who create ruckus or harass others in inebriated condition would face a jail term of not less than one year and up to three years.

Currently, the punishment for such behaviour is just one to three months in jail and a fine of Rs 200-Rs 500.

As per the ordinance, officials found guilty of helping bootleggers escape raids would attract a punishment of seven years in jail and Rs one lakh fine.

For effective implementation of the new Act, the Government would form a ‘Monitoring Cell’, which will have a toll free number.

Using that number, people can inform police about any illegal activities related to liquor trade or consumption, said Jadeja.

Additional Chief Secretary (Home) MS Dagur along with DGP PP Pandey on Tuesday held a video conference with all District SPs and Range IGs to make them understand new provisions as well as powers given to police, said the release.

First Published On : Dec 21, 2016 13:55 IST

Gujarat HC starts hearing appeals in Naroda Patiya riot case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Gujarat High Court on Monday started hearing appeals in the 2002 Naroda Patiya case, including those filed by former BJP minister Maya Kodnani and Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi.Defence lawyers started arguments before the division bench of justices Harsha Devani and A S Supehia. While Kodnani, Bajrangi and other convicts have challenged the verdict of the trial court, the Supreme Court- appointed Special Investigation Team has filed appeals against acquittals of 29 accused. It has also sought enhanced punishment for some of the convicts.The hearing is likely to be conducted on a daily basis. Last month, Justice Akil Kureshi had recused himself after which the case was transferred to the present bench. Before that, Justices M R Shah, K S Jhaveri, G B Shah, Sonia Gokani and R H Shukla had recused themselves from the matter. Also, in April 2015, the apex court had stayed the proceedings after SIT complained that Justice R R Tripathi of the high court was hearing only Kodnani’s appeal expeditiously. Tripathi retired and the case went to another division bench.97 people belonging to the minority community were killed by a mob during a riot in Naroda Patiya area of Ahmedabad on February 28, 2002, a day after the Godhra train burning incident in which 59 karsevaks died. The trial court had on August 30, 2012 awarded life imprisonment to Kodnani and 29 others, and “imprisonment till death” to Bajrangi. It had acquitted 29 others.

Coast Guard apprehends 26 Pakistani fishermen on five boats off Gujarat coast

Mon, 19 Dec 2016-10:52pm , Ahmedabad , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Coast Guard on Monday apprehended 26 Pakistani fishermen and seized their five fishing boats off Gujarat coast near Kutch as they crossed the Indian territorial waters.These Pakistani fishermen on five boats were held when they were inside Indian territory, said a release by Defence PRO.”The ICG vessel C-419 apprehended five Pakistani fishing boats with 26 crew members on board in Indian waters. These boats and the crew are being escorted to Jakhau port for further investigation,” it added.This is the second such apprehension in recent times by the Coast Guard off the Gujarat coast.Earlier in October this year, ICG ship ‘Samudra Pavak’ seized a Pakistani boat and apprehended 9 crew members onboard, off Gujarat coast during patrolling.

Major airports across the country to go ‘tag free’ for hand baggage from tomorrow

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>If you happen to be flying from any of the major airports on Wednesday, the hand baggage you are carrying will not be stamped after security check and you can just pick it up and move towards the boarding area in quicker time or spend some extra time on shopping or eating around.The reason being that Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) which is mandated with securing the civil aviation airports in the country is carrying out a pilot project at Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Bengaluru for a week starting Thursday wherein passenger need not have to take security check stamp on their hand baggage tag. The decision has been taken after various stakeholders including airlines, passengers associations, airport operators have been requesting the Ministry of civil aviation (MoCA) for the same since years. If successful, the new initiative will be made permanent and extended to other airports. “ This measure is expected to de-congest the pre-embarkation security check area and to make entire security check process convenient for the passengers ” said OP Singh, DG, CISF.The officials said that this will also free some of the CISF personnel who can then be used for closer monitoring of passengers for profiling at the security areas. The present system of stamping is made for fixing the accountability of screeners in case of any lapse and also for an authentication of being security checked. However, with a robust CCTV setup the accountability could be fixed electronically and that is the reason why the stamping system has been done away by airports across the world years back.The development seems significant that India is poised to become a third largest aviation market by 2026 displacing UK, as per a forecast prepared by airline trade body IATA. At present India is 9th largest aviation market in the world.Commenting on further plans Singh, said that there are plans to do away with stamping on boarding passes carried by the passengers in the second phase. Further, also a compulsion will be made in future whereby a passenger will not be able to carry more than one hand baggage. “ At one airport, I saw a passenger carrying 22 items. Carrying more number of hand baggages not only causes inconvenience to the passenger herself/himself but also to others. It also increasing the time taken for security checks.” Singh continued.Similarly, a full body scanner which is being tested at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) on trial basis will also be extended to the other airports if it gains acceptance. At present passengers can voluntarily go through it. “It will take just 4 seconds per passenger for screening through full body scanners” further added Singh.

IIMs ponder how to include faculty from SC/ST category

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Directors of Indian Institutes of Management discussed how to include people from socio-economically weaker sections into the faculty. The director of IIM-Kashipur spoke about a program to train doctoral students from SC/ST category. Directors of eleven IIMs and the dean of IIM-Kozhikode today met at IIM-Ahmedabad here for the fourth annual PAN-IIM World Management Conference.Among other things, the issue of including people from socio-economically weaker sections into the faculty was discussed, IIM-Ahmedabad director Ashish Nanda said.”We are very much aware that we should have diverse faculty with different life experiences teaching our students, and we particularly want to make sure that people who are socio-economically on the margins have the opportunity to be in the classroom (as teachers),” Nanda told reporters.”Each IIM is very much committed to people of all backgrounds, people of the weaker backgrounds and under-represented minorities, through participation, at the same time maintaining the highest quality standards… we discussed how IIM Kashipur is doing this. Other IIMs may like to follow up based on its experience,” he said.The director of IIM Kashipur, Gautam Sinha, said his institute had launched a special fellowship programme. “We have just embarked on this special drive to bring SC/ST doctoral students into the Fellow Programme in Management (FPM). While they will be doing this special FPM, we will also develop them to be faculty in IIMs, so five years down the line we can see results,” Sinha said.IIM-Raipur recently advertised special FPM programme for SC/ST candidates following suggestions from the Union HRD Ministry. On the issue of reservation for faculty positions in the IIMs, the HRD Ministry had recently said the Constitutional provisions remain supreme, apparently suggesting that these prestigious management schools should enforce quota.

Gujarat: PM Modi to address farmers’ meet, inaugurate Amul unit on Saturday

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address a farmers’ rally in Banaskantha district and also inaugurate a cheese factory of dairy major Amul during his day-long visit to Gujarat on Saturday. He will also pay a visit to State BJP headquarters in Gandhinagar district in the afternoon, his first trip there after assuming the top office in May 2014. “A rally of farmers and cooperative movement activists will be addressed by the Prime Minister tomorrow in Deesa town of Banaskantha district. We expect over two lakh people at the rally,” Gujarat BJP spokesperson Bharat Pandya said. The PM will inaugurate a new Amul cheese factory at Banas Dairy in Banaskantha district and also launch ‘Amul Deshi’ A2 cow milk, said a statement from Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF).The factory has been built with an investment of Rs 350 crore and uses cutting-edge cheese-making technology, said GCMMF, which manages the popular Amul brand. The ‘Amul Deshi’ A2 product, to be sold in Ahmedabad initially, is aimed at consumers seeking pure cow milk from indigenous breeds. It is priced at Rs 35 per 500 ml bottle. In a statement, GCMMF Managing Director R S Sodhi said, “This A2 cow milk will be procured from indigenous cows and made available in 500 ml bottles through Amul parlours in the Ahmedabad city.”After his programme in Deesa, Modi will visit state BJP headquarters at Koba Ain Gandhinagar, where he will interact with local party leaders, Pandya said. “The Prime Minister will be coming for the first time to State BJP headquarters after assuming office. This was the place from where he ran the campaign for 2014 elections.” This is the fifth visit of the Prime Minister to his home state, which will go to polls in the second half of 2017, in the last six months.

RRB NTPC 2016 exam: Check rrbbnc.gov.in for results

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Railway Recruitment Board has announced the results for the RRB NTPC 2016 examination. Around three lakh candidates have been cleared for the second stage examination scheduled to be held in January/ February.Login here to view your details of result of 1st Stage Examination (CBT) of NTPC (Graduate) posts against CEN No. 03/2015. Enter your registration number as your user id and your date of birth (dd/mm/yyyy) as the user password. You can also check out the region wise results on the following websites: Ahmedabad – rrbahmedabad.gov.in Ajmer – rrbajmer.gov.in. Allahabad – rrbald.gov.in Bangalore – rrbbnc.gov.in Bhopal – rrbbpl.nic.in Bhubaneshwar – rrbbbs.gov.in Bilaspur – rrbbilaspur.gov.in Chandigarh – rrbcdg.gov.in Chennai – rrbchennai.gov.in Gorakhpur – rrbgkp.gov.in Guwahati – rrbguwahati.gov.in Jammu – rrbjammu.nic.in Kolkata – rrbkolkata.gov.inMalda – rrbmalda.gov.inMumbai – rrbmumbai.gov.in Muzaffarpur – rrbmuzaffarpur.gov.in Patna – rrbpatna.gov.in Ranchi – rrbranchi.org Secunderabad – rrbsecunderabad.nic.in Siliguri – rrbsiliguri.org Trivandrum – rrbthiruvananthapuram.gov.in

Black money hunt: Rs 2 lakh cr disclosure under IDS throws up many questions

The demonetisation juggernaut rolls along. The millions of spectators who have been watching this amazing spectacle are filled with admiration, awe, revulsion and perplexity. A section of the people admire the government for the political muscle it showed in ‘demonetising’ high value currency notes worth Rs 500 and Rs 1,000. But many are still perplexed.

The new income declaration scheme has begun to bring in applications which have mind-boggling figures. But, for perhaps the first time, the government is actually pushing the income tax department to scrutinise the applications and reject some of them. Two such applications that have got rejected are those of an Ahmedabad-based businessman who declared an income of Rs 13,860 crore and a Mumbai-based family who had reportedly declared an income of Rs 2 lakh crore.

Representational imageRepresentational image

Representational image

In the first case, the police were instructed to look out for him, as he had not paid his first instalment of taxes due on the amounts declared. He finally surrendered but not before he had made startling disclosures to a media house before cameras that he was being used as a front by various powerful politicians whose wealth he was asked to launder. He was sent to police captivity (reminding one of a similar incident popularly known as the Nagarwala scandal).

In the second instance, the family based in Bandra west, Mumbai, has reportedly made the Rs 2 lakh crore disclosure, which has been termed ‘suspicious’ by the authorities as they have ‘very small means’. As per media reports, the declarants are Abdul Razzaque Mohammed Sayed, Mohammed Aarif Abdul Razzaque Sayed, Rukhsana Abdul Razzaque Sayed and Noorjahan Mohammed Sayed. Of them, three have PAN cards from Ajmer and then migrated to Mumbai, says this report in The Times of India. According to the report, the details given like even the mobile number could not be verified, raising the suspicion it could be an attempt to launder black money.

In fact, the first question that arises when one sees such reports is whether the income tax department will now begin rejecting some of the 8 lakh applications it received in 2011 and 2012 where the sums declared were in excess of Rs 870 lakh crore.

True, this was not under a black money income declaration scheme (IDS). It was declared as agricultural income. But unlike the current IDS, where the state gets to keep around 50 percent or more of the income declared, all the income under agricultural income goes entirely tax-free.

What is even more surprising is that the income tax department has not announced any details of the number of application forms rejected, and the amount of money so involved in respect of the declarations made in 2011 and 2012.

This is critically important because the figure of Rs 870 lakh crore over two years (2011 and 2012) is more than 8 times India’s GDP at that point of time. Since the money has not been acknowledged by the RBI, nor by the Economic Survey, are we to assume that the declarations are valid, but not yet accounted for?

This is extremely important, because in India there have been instances where declarations take the form of anticipatory bail. If an income declaration scheme is very attractive, businessmen are known to have borrowed money from other sources, and are said to have declared much more of black income than they were actually responsible for at that point of time. The idea is to get future black money generation also covered under this attractive income declaration scheme.

Bearer Bonds and India Development Bonds

This is what happened when the special bearer bond scheme of 1981 was announced. Many businessmen actually declared more black money than they had with them, thus ensuring that illegitimate money generated in the future would get protected under this disclosure. Businessmen refer to this as ‘anticipatory bail’. Since there was a complete amnesty granted to them, and since no queries could be raised about the source of these funds, they provided a very lucrative opportunity.

The same thing happened when the India Development Bonds (IDBs) were announced in 1991. This was meant for those declaring black money stashed overseas. The idea was to bolster India’s terribly low foreign exchange reserves.

graphgraph

Once again, there was the guarantee of total immunity, and with no-questions-to-be-asked. Overnight, the unofficial premium on the US dollar went up, as businessmen in India were reported to be converting their black money in India into foreign exchange, and sending it overseas via hawala and then declaring the amount as black money under the IDB scheme. Astute businessmen even borrowed money and declared more black money that they had generated. They, too, were taking the benefit of this anticipatory bail.

This is what appears to have happened in 2011 and 2012, when some businessmen must have thought that agricultural income would be given a tacit approval by someone in the finance ministry with no questions asked (P Chidambaram was the finance minister then). Whether such a tacit approval was given or not, the fact remains that the number of applicants declaring agricultural income swelled, and so did the average amount declared by these people.

The total amount declared during these two years was over 8 times the country’s GDP, and over 125 times the total tax collection.

What about this time? Were the two declarations (by the Ahmedabad and Mumbai-based businessmen) that have got cancelled also instances of anticipatory bail?

This time it is unlikely to be ‘anticipatory bail’ because the state confiscates around 50 percent of the money declared.

So was it to conceal the names of the politicians that the Ahmedabad-based businessman promised to disclose? Or is there something more at work?

Your guess is as good as mine.

First Published On : Dec 5, 2016 11:09 IST

I-T rejects declarations of Rs 2 lakh cr, Rs 13,860 cr after declarants found ‘suspicious’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Income Tax department has rejected an astonishing Rs 2 lakh crore disclosure by a Mumbai family as well as the controversial Rs 13,860 crore by an Ahmedabad businessman under the Income Disclosure Scheme that closed in September and a probe is on against them to determine the intention behind their false claims.Meanwhile, the government has revised upwards the total illicit wealth disclosed in the one-time window to Rs 67,382 crore as against Rs 65,250 crore estimated earlier. “Among the declarations received, there were two sets of declarations of high value which were not taken on record in the above figure because these declarations were found to be suspicious in nature being filed by persons of small means,” the Finance Ministry said in a statement on Sunday.A family of four declarants namely, Abdul Razzaque Mohammed Sayed (self), Mohammed Aarif Abdul Razzaque Sayed (son), Rukhsana Abdul Razzaque Sayed (wife) and Noorjahan Mohammed Sayed (sister), who were shown as residents of Flat no. 4, Ground Floor, Jubilee Court, 269-B, T.P.S-III, Linking Road, Bandra (W), Mumbai, filed a total declaration of Rs 2 lakh crore, it said. The other declaration was filed by one Mahesh Kumar Champaklal Shah resident of 206, MangalJyot Tower, Jodhpur Gram Satellite, Ahmedabad for Rs 13,860 crore. “Therefore, after due consideration, the Income Tax Department decided by 30th November, 2016, to reject these two sets of declarations of Rs 2 lakh crore and Rs 13,860 crore respectively. The Department has since commenced enquiries against these declarants to determine the intention behind these false declarations,” it added.On October 1, it was announced that declarations totalling Rs 65,250 crore were received from 64,275 declarants, subject to reconciliation. After final reconciliation the revised figure of actual declarations received and taken on record was Rs 67,382 crore which had been made by 71,726 declarants. The revised figure will fetch government a little over Rs 30,000 crore direct tax revenue. In case of the Mumbai family disclosure, the statement said, three out of the four PAN numbers were originally in Ajmer which were migrated to Mumbai in September 2016, where the declarations were filed. Shah meanwhile has threatened to disclose the names of politicians and businessmen for whom he says he was acting as a front.Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram in a tweet said: “There is a Rs 13,860 crore hole in the Rs 65,000 crore IDS! How many more holes.” The statement said these declarations from Mumbai and Ahmedabad were kept pending for investigation about the genuineness of the same and were not included in the total value of declarations announced on October 1. After due enquiry it was found that these declarants were persons of suspicious nature and very small means and the declarations could have been misused, it said. The Department has commenced enquiries against these declarants, it said. IDS was announced in the Budget under which declaration of undisclosed income or asset could be made by agreeing to pay 45% of the declared amount as tax, surcharge and penalty. The declaration widow of four-month ended on September 30. Now on the final declarations, the government will get Rs 30,321.9 crore in tax and penalty. Government had given the option of paying tax amount in two instalments up to September 30, 2017. Half or Rs 15,160.9 crore is to be accrued in the current fiscal. The first installment of 25% has already come as the last date for payment was November 30.Last year, under a similar scheme for foreign black money holders, 644 declarations of undisclosed foreign income and assets were received, and just Rs 2,428 crore was collected in taxes. A total tax of Rs 9,760 crore was collected under the Voluntary Income Disclosure Scheme (VIDS) amnesty scheme brought by Chidambaram in 1997. While IDS is not an amnesty scheme, VDIS provided blanket amnesty, he said. Taxation under IDS is charged at the rate of 45% while the effective rate of tax in the 1997 scheme was in single digit.

IT department rejects Mumbai family’s Rs 2 lakh crore income declaration

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Income Tax Department has rejected two sets of declarations of Rs.2 lakh crore and Rs. 13,860 crore made from Mumbai and Ahmedabad, respectively, after an inquiry found that declarants were ‘persons of suspicious nature’ and ‘very small means’ and the declarations could have been misused.These declarations were kept pending for investigation about the genuineness of the same and were not included in the total value of declarations announced on October1, said a statement issued by the Department of Revenue Central Board of Direct Taxes, Union Ministry of Finance. ‘It was announced that declarations totalling Rs. 65,250 crore were received from 64,275 declarants, subject to reconciliation. After final reconciliation, the revised figure of actual declarations received and taken on record was Rs. 67,382 crores, which had been made by 71,726 declarants,’ said the statement. Among the declarations received, there were two sets of declarations of high value, which were not taken on record in the above figure because they were found to be suspicious in nature being filed by persons of small means. A family of four declarants ‘ Abdul Razzaque Mohammed Sayed (self), Mohammed Aarif Abdul Razzaque Sayed (son), Rukhsana Abdul Razzaque Sayed (wife) and Noorjahan Mohammed Sayed (sister) ‘ all residents Linking Road, Bandra (W), Mumbai, had filed a total declaration of Rs. 2 lakh crore. Three out of the four PAN numbers were originally in Ajmer, which were migrated to Mumbai in September, where the declarations were filed. The other declaration was filed by one Maheshkumar Champaklal Shah, a resident Jodhpur Gram Satellite, Ahmedabad, for an amount of Rs. 13,860 crore. The department has commenced inquiries against these declarants to determine the intention behind these false declarations, the statement added. The declarations were made under an Income Declaration Scheme (IDS), which was announced in the budget under which declaration of undisclosed income or asset could be made by agreeing to pay 45 percent of the declared amount as tax, surcharge and penalty. The scheme closed on September 30.IDS gets Rs 67,382 cr, over Rs 2K cr higher than estimateThe Finance Ministry revised upwards black money disclosed under Income Declaration Scheme (IDS) to Rs 67,382 crore, which will fetch the government a little over Rs 30,000 crore in direct tax revenue even as it did not take into account two high value disclosures.The Income Tax Department, it said, did not take into consideration the much-talked about Rs 13,860 crore declaration made by Ahemdabad based Mahesh kumar Champaklal Shah, who has threatened to disclose the names of politicians and businessmen for whom he was acting as a front.”Among the declarations received, there were two sets of declarations of high value which were not taken on record in the above figure because they were found to be suspicious in nature being filed by persons of small means,” the Finance Ministry said in a statement.It said: “On Oct 1, 2016, it was announced that declarations totalling Rs 65,250 crore were received from 64,275 declarants, subject to reconciliation.”After final reconciliation the revised figure of actual declarations received and taken on record was Rs 67,382 crore which had been made by 71,726 declarants.” On the omission, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram in a tweet said, “There is a Rs 13,860 crore hole in the Rs 65,000 crore IDS! How many more holes’”Giving details, it said a family of four headed by one Abdul Razzaque Mohammed Sayed, residents of Bandra, Mumbai made a total declaration of Rs 2 lakh crore which was rejected by the Department as three out of the four PAN numbers were originally in Ajmer which were migrated in September 2016 to Mumbai, the place of the declarations.These declarations from Mumbai and Ahmedabad were kept pending for investigation about the genuineness of the same and were not included in the total value of declarations announced on October 1, it said.After due enquiry it was found that these declarants were persons of suspicious nature and very small means and the declarations could have been misused, it said.”Therefore, after due consideration, the Income Tax Department decided by November 30, to reject these two sets of declarations of Rs 2 lakh crore and Rs 13,860 respectively.The Department has commenced enquiries against these declarants to determine the intention behind these false declarations,” said the ministry’s statement.With inputs from PTI and ANI

Rs 13,860 cr not mine, belongs to politicians, bureaucrats: Gujarat businessman

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mahesh Shah, the city-based realtor who vanished after disclosing Rs 13,860 crore in cash under the Income Disclosure Scheme (IDS), resurfaced in the studio of a regional TV news channel on Saturday evening. If Shah’s reappearance wasn’t dramatic enough, Income-Tax (I-T) sleuths filled any shortcoming by barging into the studio and taking him into custody live on television.Before taxmen whisked him off to the Sarkhej police station, Shah clarified on TV that the astronomical amount he disclosed before the I-T department belongs to politicians, businessmen and bureaucrats. However, he said he will disclose their names only before I-T officials and that truth will be out soon.Accepting what he did was against the law, Shah claimed he had acted out of compulsion and accepted getting intimidated by the handsome commission.”Those whose money was disclosed under IDS backed out at the last moment, so I could not pay the first installment of the tax to the I-T department,” he said.Shah claimed he was out of Ahmedabad for the past 10 days and had just returned from Mumbai. Earlier, there were speculations that he would appear before I-T or Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials, but he chose to go public on a TV channel.”I am innocent and haven’t done anything wrong. The public will appreciate me when the truth comes out,” he said. During the course of the interview, which lasted more than an hour, Shah said that there is threat to his life. The news channel spoke with the police, requesting them to provide adequate security to Shah.When Shah’s interview was on, police personnel, along with I-T officers, arrived at the studio and escorted him out. They took Shah to the Sarkhej police station, where he was handed over to officials from the I-T department and ED.

Gujarat businessman disappears after disclosing Rs 13, 680 crore of unaccounted cash

A 45-year-old businessman based in Ahmedabad, Mahesh Shah, who had come to spotlight in October after he admitted to assets worth Rs 13, 860 crore under the Income Declaration Scheme (IDS) has gone missing.

Black-money_cr

Representational image. PTI

The businessman had to pay 25 percent on the disclosed income as penalty on 30 November — the deadline for paying the penalty under the amnesty period. Mahesh Shah was a land dealer and his chartered accountant, Tehmul Sethna, who had helped him in the income disclosures also faced search inquiries from the Income Tax department.

According to The Times of India report, Tehmul Sethna has claimed that he has never filed tax returns for Shah but knew him well because they had kept in touch after their first meeting in 2013. Sethna said that he had spoken to Shah on 29 November but hasn’t spoken to him after that. Search operations by Income Tax officials was conducted at Sethna’s office as well.

The Times of India report also stated that Mahesh Shah lived in a 4-BHK flat and took an autorickshaw to work.

However, in an NDTV report, Monitesh, Shah’s son said: “He is not absconding. But we don’t know where he is. He will reply to your questions when he comes.

The Income Tax department is also trying to find whether Mahesh Shah had links to other businessmen who have laundered money and if he was a part of the bigger network involved in money laundering.

First Published On : Dec 3, 2016 11:53 IST

Gujarat man declares Rs 13,860 cr cash, but whose money is it?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>All that the Income-Tax (I-T) Department could unearth from the residence and office of Mahesh Shah, a land dealer in Jodhpur Cross Roads, Ahmedabad, was some documents on land deals, though Shah had declared Rs 13,860 crore in cash under the Income Disclosure Scheme (IDS).The I-T department on Friday claimed to have recovered Rs 40 lakh in cash and jewellery worth Rs 30 lakh from Shah’s business associates, besides seizing six bank lockers from them and his chartered accountant (CA).The search operations were carried out two days before November 30, the last day for Shah to pay the first tax installment of Rs 1,560 crore. Shah had declared cash of Rs 13,860 crore on September 30 – the last day for disclosure under the scheme.Shah not only missed the deadline but went missing as well, leaving many questions unanswered. His CA Tehmul Sethna said that he first met Shah in 2013 in connection with a land deal.”I gave him some advice on his undisclosed income that time and won his trust. He later met me for advice on IDS. I told him it would be a win-win situation for both him and the I-T department,” said Sethna. “I did not have doubts about his credentials because I knew of his networks and land deals. In the last week of September, we met an Income-Tax Commissioner to discuss the disclosure. On September 30, following his advice, Shah disclosed an income Rs 13,860 crore,” added Sethna.”We cannot rule out the possibility that some part of what he declared may belong to some bigwigs,” said SethnaHe said that the I-T department then checked Shah’s credibility and worthiness, and, on October 14, issued him the IDS Form 2 (the form to disclose income). Under the scheme, he was to pay 45 per cent income tax on the declared amount, and the first installment (Rs 1,560 crore) was to be paid by November 30.”But, for some reason, the I-T department began to doubt his ability to pay. On November 28, for unknown reasons, they cancelled his IDS Form 2,” said Sethna.”They searched the offices and residences of Shah and his associates, including mine. What I learned during the search at my residence and office is that the I-T department suspected that some money-laundering may be done through the payment of Rs 6,240 crore tax (45 per cent on the declared IDS) and so cancelled the IDS,” said Sethna.Interestingly, I-T officials said the investigation wing of the department (which carries out search operations) had no clue about Shah’s declaration under the IDS scheme. “Each wing of the department maintains confidentiality. o one wing does not know what the other is up to,” said an official.According to an official, the investigation department had information that Shah and his associates were helping in currency exchange (exchanging banned currency notes with acceptable ones for a commission). “We searched 12 places in the city, including the residences of Shah, his business associates and CA. It is just a coincidence that, on November 28, Shah’s IDS form got cancelled and on November 29 the search operations began,” said the official.According to I-T department records, Shah’s tax returns for the past few years showed his annual income between Rs 2 lakh and Rs 3 lakh. Sethna said that Shah is a big investor in land and has land parcels in Ahmedabad, Mumbai and its suburbs.Who is Mahesh Shah?The 67-year-old is a heart patient who has undergone a surgery. He has a wife and two children, a son who is unemployed, and lives with him at his residence in Jodhpur, and a daughter who is married and lives in Prahaladnagar. His wife is a cancer patient and is bedridden. For 59 days, after he first made the declaration under the IDS scheme on September 30, the I-T department thought of him as a ‘genuine’ assessee and waited for him to pay tax. “He lived in a 3 BHK, but otherwise he lived a luxurious life. When on tour, he would check in only to five-star hotels but whenever he visits me, he would take an auto,” said Sethna.

Demonetization: Six held for duping businessman of Rs 36 lakh in Gujarat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Six persons including a lady police constable and a bank employee allegedly cheated a businessman by promising to exchange his Rs 36 lakh in the now defunct currency, police said today.Manish Patel, who runs transport business at Santej in Gandhinagar district, had approached some persons who promised to exchange Rs 36 lakh in the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes which he possessed.”Manish got in touch with his relative, asking him to help him exchange the defunct notes. He was then taken to the accused who took his money, promising that it will be exchanged with new currency notes, and did not return,” inspector B N Dave of Santej police said.Patel handed over the money to the accused on November 14, Dave said. When he did not get his money exchanged, he approached the police.An FIR was registered against six people including Maya Patel, a lady police constable from Ahmedabad, and Chandrakant Patel, employee of IDBI Bank, for cheating.Out of the six accused, Chandrakant Patel and Nirav Patel have been arrested, Dave said.

Demonetisation impact: Ahmedabad paan shop owner gets ‘fake’ Rs 2,000 note

Ahmedabad: Days after the Centre introduced the Rs 2,000 note after its demonetisation move, a paan shop owner in Ahmedabad on Tuesday claimed that he received a “fake” note of the denomination from an unknown customer.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Vansh Barot, who runs the Anand Paan Shop in Bodakdev locality in Ahmedabad, went to the RBI regional office, to deposit the note along with an application as directed by bank officials, in order to get rid of the “fake currency” in his possession.

Barot said he accepted the note from an unknown customer on either Friday or Saturday as he had to purchase supplies for his shop.

“I happily accepted it without doubting its authenticity, especially considering that the note has certain features of original note such as Gandhi watermark and security thread, which makes it resemble like an original note at first glance,” he said.

“I took the note thinking that there is no possibility of anyone giving me a fake currency at this juncture. The note bore such close resemblance to the original note, that I had little doubt about its authenticity,” he added.

Barot realised the note was fake when a supplier he went to raised an alarm after examining the note. “When I place it against the original note, I could see the difference very clearly. The paper quality of fake note is poor, and even its size is slightly smaller than the original note,” he claimed.

“When I took it to two banks to ascertain whether it’s fake, bankers there did not clearly tell me if the note is fake. Certain that the note is fake, I took it to a branch of another public sector bank where a senior official on Monday confirmed it is a fake,” he added.

First Published On : Nov 23, 2016 15:22 IST

Notice the discomfort on Rahul baba’s face: Amit Shah hits out at critics of demonetization

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP President Amit Shah hit out at the opposition parties protesting demonetization on Tuesday, saying the discomfort is evident on the face of the leaders opposing the move, which should worry only those who possess blackmoney. “Those who don’t have any black money in their homes, do they have any reason to worry? Do you see any worries on the faces of our leaders? Now have a look at the face of Rahul baba (Gandhi) and see if can notice discomfort or not,” Shah said addressing a public meeting here.He also targeted other parties asking the crowd if they could see worry on the faces of SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, BSP chief Mayawati or AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal, as the audience answered back saying “yes”. “All of them are worried,” he said.Underlining the effects of the government’s move to demonetise high currency notes, Shah said that through black money terrorism, naxalite movement, drug mafia and counterfeiters operate and “(Prime Minister Narendra) Modi ji, with one stroke of the pen, has turned this black money into scrap”.
ALSO READ Demonetization: Paan shop owner gets ‘fake’ Rs 2,000 note in Ahmedabad”On November 7, they said, Modi ji what did you do on the issue of black money. Now they say, Modi ji why did you do it. The what has turned into why. They are concerned who have millions and billions stashed in their bungalows,” Shah said, taking another jibe at opposition party leaders.The BJP President said that if the human body has an ailment, doctors have to conduct an operation and similarly, demonetization will have a positive effect. “The way demonetization is being opposed, I believe, these people are siding with black money and corruption,” he added.
ALSO READ BJP by-poll victory indicates people support PM Modi’s war on black money: Assam CM Sonowal Shah claimed that BJP was sensitive to the problems being faced by people queuing up outside the banks and ATMs but said they must realise that the step had hurt “those sleeping over hoardes of blackmoney three thousand times more than the people on the streets”.Addressing a huge gathering on the occasion of Parivartan Yatra in the Kumaun University SSJ Campus, Shah said that people have to make a decision in the upcoming assembly elections in Uttarakhand – whether they want a state which is developed or not – as he sought votes to bring change in the state, presently ruled by a Congress government. “We will work to combat Chinese insurgency at the border, control generation of electricity, and work for industrial progress for the benefit of Uttarakhand people,” he said as he appealed to the people to vote for BJP, which “will give you a strong, fear-free and corruption-free government” and then Uttarakhand will be the strongest state in the country.
ALSO READ Demonetization just the ‘beginning’ of fight against black money, says PM Modi in emotional appeal to BJP lawmakersAccusing the Harish Rawat government of doing nothing without taking commission, Shah said having a BJP government both in the state and at the Centre will serve the interests of Uttarakhand better as it would help the benefits of the central schemes and funds percolate to the ground level.He claimed that Uttarakhand could not progress under the Congress as he accused the party of carrying out corruption to the tune of Rs 12 crore. He appealed to the people to ‘save the state’ by putting an end to the current regime. Targeting Rahul Gandhi, he said the Congress vice president had no right to shed “crocodile tears” over One Rank One Pension (OROP) as three generations of party leadership had failed to address the issue which Modi did within two years of coming to power.”Modi fulfilled the vexed demand when Rahul Gandhi had disappeared for six months with no one having any clue of his whereabouts. Perhaps he is not aware of what happened during his disappearance,” he alleged. “Modi has fulfilled an age-old demand. There may be some small outstanding issues which are being looked into by a commission,” Shah told the gathering that included former chief ministers and other top most leaders of Uttarakhand BJP who also made speeches before the party president.

Demonetization: Paan shop owner gets ‘fake’ Rs 2,000 note in Ahmedabad

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Days after the Centre introduced the Rs 2,000 note after its demonetization move, a paan shop owner in Ahmedabad on Tuesday claimed that he received a “fake” note of the denomination from an unknown customer.Vansh Barot, who runs the Anand Paan Shop in Bodakdev locality in Ahmedabad, went to the RBI regional office, to deposit the note along with an application as directed by bank officials, in order to get rid of the “fake currency” in his possession.Barot said he accepted the note from an unknown customer on either Friday or Saturday as he had to purchase supplies for his shop. “I happily accepted it without doubting its authenticity, especially considering that the note has certain features of original note such as Gandhi watermark and security thread, which makes it resemble like an original note at first glance,” he said. “I took the note thinking that there is no possibility of anyone giving me a fake currency at this juncture. The note bore such close resemblance to the original note, that I had little doubt about its authenticity,” he added.Barot realised the note was fake when a supplier he went to raised an alarm after examining the note. “When I place it against the original note, I could see the difference very clearly. The paper quality of fake note is poor, and even its size is slightly smaller than the original note,” he claimed. “When I took it to two banks to ascertain that it is fake, bankers there did not clearly told me whether the note is fake. Certain that the note is fake, I took it to a branch of another public sector bank where a senior official yesterday confirmed it is a fake,” he added.

Indore-Patna express derailment: 4 trains cancelled, 14 diverted

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Indian Railways cancelled four trains on Sunday and diverted 14 others following the derailment of Indore-Patna Express in Pukhrayan in Kanpur rural area in which over 115 people were killed and more than 200 injured.Jhansi-Lucknow Intercity (11110, 11109), Jhansi-Kanpur passenger (51804, 51803) were cancelled due to the tragedy, an official release from North Central Railway division said.While 14 trains, Lucknow-Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (12108), Varanasi-Ahmedabad Sabarmati Express (19168), Gorakhpur- Lokmanya Tilak Terminus Kushinagar Express (11015, 11016), Kolkata-Jhansi (11105), Chhatrapati Shivaji terminus-Lucknow Pushpak Express (12534), Gwalior-Barauni Mail (11124, 11123), it said.
ALSO READ Major train accidents in India since 1988Also, Lucknow-Lokmanya Tilak Terminus Express (12108), Gorakhpur-Yashwantpur Express (15015), Lokmanya Tilak Terminus-Gorakhpur Express (12542), Bhopal-Lucknow Express (12594), Lokmanya Tilak Terminus-Pratapgarh Express (12173), Lokmanya Tilak Terminus-Sultanpur Express (12143) have also been diverted.

Major train accidents in India since 1988

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The following is the chronology of major train accidents in India since 1988:# Nov 20, 2016: Over 100 passengers were killed and more than 200 injured when 14 coaches of the Indore-Patna Express derailed near Pukhrayan in Kanpur dehat district of Uttar Pradesh.# May 28, 2010: At least 148 people were killed after the Gyaneshwari Express was derailed by Naxals in West Midnapore district of West Bengal.# September 9, 2002: 100 passengers were killed and 150 hurt after a bogie of Howrah-Delhi Rajdhani Express plunged into the Dhave river in Bihar’s Aurangabad district.# August 2, 1999: At least 290 passengers were killed after two trains carrying a total of 2,500 people collided at Gaisal in Assam# November 26, 1998: At least 212 people were killed as the Jammu Tawi-Sealdah Express collided with derailed coaches of the Frontier Mail near Khanna in Punjab.# September 14, 1997: 81 people were killed when five bogies of Ahmedabad-Howrah express fell into a river in Bilaspur district of Madhya Pradesh.# August 20, 1995: 400 people were killed after the Puroshottam Express rammed into Kalindi Express near Firozabad railway station in Uttar Pradesh.# April 18, 1988: At least 75 people were killed when the Karnataka Express derailed near Lalitpur in Uttar Pradesh.# July 8, 1988: 107 were killed, when the Island Express plunged into Ashtamudi lake in Kerala.

Mumbai: IM man gives cops slip from hospital, held after chase

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> An Indian Mujahideen member, accused of helping the terror outfit in 2008 Delhi and Ahmedabad bombings, tried to escape from the JJ Hospital premises here where he was taken for check up, police said on Friday.Anwar Abdul Ali Gani Bagwan’s luck ran out soon as he was overpowered by police constables who were earlier escorting him and common people after a chase. The incident occurred on November 15, when Bagwan (33) was taken to the state-run hospital in Central Mumbai after he complained of some issues with his eyes. When they reached the premises of the hospital, he pushed police constables and started running, a police official said today.By the time Bagwan crossed the road, the constables were joined by bystanders in the chase. He was overpowered and taken into custody. An offence has been registered against him by J J Marg Police in this regard, Senior Inspector Dileep Shinde said. Bagwan, an undertrial, is lodged in Arthur Road prison here. He was arrested by Crime Branch in 2009. The MBBS doctor was accused of using the IM funds for hiring flats at posh Koregaon Park area in Pune as the bases for IM members.He allegedly procured sedatives and anaesthetics from a hospital in Pune and used them to train IM cadres in kidnapping for seeking ransom to fund terror activities. He had allegedly received terror training in Bhatkal.According to police, Bagwan allegedly let IM use his apartments in Pune to the terror outfit’s media wing which had sent emails to news channels just minutes before the bomb blasts struck Delhi and Ahmadabad.In an 1,800-page chargesheet filed before the MCOCA Court in 2009, the Mumbai Police had charged 21 alleged terrorists of the Indian Mujahideen group, including Bagwan, for being involved in the planning and execution of bomb blasts across the country, of forming an organised crime syndicate for terror-related activities, and of hacking into WiFi accounts to send emails claiming responsibility for the Ahmedabad and Delhi blasts.On July 26, 2008, a series of multiple bomb blasts hit Ahmedabad, within a span of 70 minutes.Similarly, Delhi was struck with a series of five synchronised bomb blasts at various locations on September 13, 2008. Scores of people were killed in these bombings.

Demonetisation: Three arrested in Gujarat for accepting Rs 2.9 lakh bribe in new currency notes

Ahmedabad: Two officials of Kandla Port Trust (KPT) and a middleman were arrested by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) sleuths for allegedly accepting Rs 2.9 lakh as bribe, in newly introduced Rs 2,000 notes, from a private firm.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Those arrested are Superintendent Engineer (class-1) P Shrinivasu, Sub Divisional Officer K Kumetkar and middleman Rudreshwar Sunamudi.

“Apart from clearing pending bills, which ran into over Rs 1 crore, these two officials sought illegal gratification for not serving a show cause notice to the contractor for not doing the work properly.

“Shrinivasu agreed to take Rs 2.5 lakh while Kumetkar agreed for Rs 1.5 lakh,” police Inspector with Kutch ACB, HM Kansagara said.

The firm is engaged in maintenance of High Tension electrical lines as well as supplying various materials to the Port Trust.

On the complaint of the firm’s owner, a trap was laid on Wednesday. On behalf of Shrinivasu, Sunamidu came to collect the share. Though we had also kept Rs 1.5 lakh ready for Kumetkar, he did not turn up. We arrested the middleman while taking Rs 2.5 lakh. Later, we arrested the two KPT officials,” the ACB official said.

While searching Kumetkar’s house, police found Rs 40,000 which he had accepted a few days back from the complainant as bribe, the official said.

“In total, Rs 4.4 lakh have been seized. The entire cash was in newly introduced Rs 2,000 notes,” Kansagara said, adding, “Since the KPT officials wanted the bribe in new currency notes, the complainant sourced the cash from his bank accounts, relatives as well as friends.”

First Published On : Nov 17, 2016 17:31 IST

PM Modi returns home after Japan visit

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi returned home tonight after concluding his three-day visit to Japan during which the two countries signed a landmark civil nuclear deal and nine other agreements in various fields.”Sayonara Japan! An important friendship stands strengthened as PM @narendramodi enplanes from Osaka for the journey back to Delhi,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup had tweeted on departure.Before his departure, Modi addressed a luncheon gathering of business leaders in Kobe, a city on Osaka Bay. He also travelled in Japan’s famed high-speed Shinkansen bullet train, which is being introduced in India on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad stretch, with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe.During the visit, India and Japan signed 10 pacts covering a range of areas such as boosting Japanese investment in infrastructure, railways, and for cooperation in space and agriculture, as part of agreements to bolster bilateral ties. Shedding its reservations, Japan yesterday made an exception to sign a landmark civil nuclear deal with India, opening the door for export of its atomic technology and reactors, after adding features like safety and security keeping in mind its sensitivities on the issue.The nuclear deal, described as historic by Prime Minister Modi, was part of the ten agreements signed between the two countries. Modi and Abe held wide-ranging talks which covered aspects like trade and investment, security, terrorism, cooperation in skill development, aerospace and people-to-people contacts.

Sardar Patel’s family never took copyright over him: PM Modi’s jibe at dynastic politics

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel neither did anything for his family nor has his family taken a “copyright” over him, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday as he emphasised on highlighting contributions of such great men before future generations.Speaking at an event where he inaugurated a digital exhibition on the life of Patel on his 141st birth anniversary, he also said a country as diverse as India cannot run if we focus on our divisions and not live by the mantra of oneness. “When we talk about unity, the message is clear, that I am a BJP ‘wallah’ but Sardar Patel was from Congress and still we are celebrating this jayanti with the same pomp and fervour,” Modi said.He said in the times of every great man there are different ideas and debates associated with them but the succeeding generations don’t have the right to use contributions and achievements of great men to create divisions. The attempt should be to find things from their lives which bind everyone, he added. “I am surprised that some people ask who am I to celebrate the jayanti of Sardar Patel. But Sardar was such a person whose family has not taken any copyright. And anyways in public life, he did not do anything for his family. Whatever he did, was as duty for the country,” Modi said hitting out at critics.”If we present these examples to the current generation, we can say – it is alright there is family but pay some attention to the country also,” he said taking a swipe at dynasty politics. Some people were so great, he said, that attempts were made to make their contributions forgotten for 70 years but these met with no success.Terming Patel as a visionary, Modi said that he had brought in a proposal for 33 per cent women’s reservation as Ahmedabad municipality chief. He said that most states were in favour of Patel and not Jawaharlal Nehru to head the government after independence. He added that Sardar however accepted Gandhiji’s wishes after which Nehru headed the government.In a lighter vein, he said perhaps being a Gujarati himself Gandhi did not want to pick another Gujarati. Speaking about Patel’s sacrifice in the present context, he said people won’t even give up the chairmanship of a municipality. Earlier in the day, Modi paid floral tributes to Patel at his statue in the heart of national capital at Patel Chowk here. “I bow to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on his birth anniversary. We recall his rich contribution to India,” he said.In his speech digital exhibition event, Modi also emphasised on the role of lives of people like Patel in inspiring people to stay united. “We are watching it everyday and sometimes it appears as if we are looking for ways to diverge. As if we are sitting with binoculars seeking things which can create divisions. A country so filled with diversities cannot run like this. We will have to live by the mantra of oneness. And inculcate it as our heritage and percolate to further generations,” he said.Modi credited to Patel’s stature that rulers of hundreds of princely states got convinced to merge in India. There is a traditional rivalry between Patels and Kshatriyas in Gujarat but even Kshatriya royals agreed with Patel, he said highlighting the spirit of unity. Modi also said people should be made aware of the contributions of people in freedom struggle. It was more a struggle of the people, than that of the leaders and the contribution of these people should be highlighted.He said museums would be created in each state to bring forth the contributions of the tribals in the freedom struggle. At the event, Modi also launched the government’s ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’ scheme to promote greater awareness among people of various states about one another and hence promoting the spirit of unity in diversity. Six MoUs between two states each were also signed under this initiative.Modi said people often take pride when their kids speak Spanish or French, but an environment needs to be created when encouragement should be given to speaking more Indian languages.He suggested a range of activities which children from various states can undertake to know each other better under Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat. A database of 5000 questions related to each state can be prepared and there can be quiz competitions, he also suggested.

Ban or no ban, spark goes missing from cracker sales

Lucknow: Ban on import and sale of Chinese crackers has had little or no effect on domestically-made ones as traders across major cities report poor business owing to anti-cracker campaign run by schools, resident welfare associations and others, Assocham said today.

AFPAFP

AFP

It is not just Chinese crackers, but multiple factors like growing environmental awareness, rising cost of living, growing tendency to save hard-earned money, paucity of time and traffic congestions have dented the business over the years. This is what a majority of the 250 traders surveyed said.

There is a sharp sales decline of about 20 per cent year-on-year from the past five years, which have also almost halved.

“Banning Chinese firecrackers was a welcome move which was aimed at strengthening the domestic industry. However, growing criticism of bursting crackers and the negative publicity along with rising pollution have eventually faded the growth of firecracker industry,” said D S Rawat, Assocham Secretary General, while releasing the findings.

“About hundreds of units in Sivakasi have shut their shop owing to intense campaigns and growing sales of China-made crackers over the years.”

Costlier raw materials and inflation have also held back people from buying crackers, a trend for the past few years now, noted the survey. However, many traders nurse hope that last-minute purchase could save the day for them.

The industry body interacted with wholesalers, retailers and traders spread across 10 cities of Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Chennai, Dehradun, Delhi, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Lucknow and Mumbai to gauge enthusiasm and demand for crackers together with the ban impact across India.

Ahmedabad: Two Pakistani women married to Indians go missing

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two Pakistani sisters married in Ahmedabad have gone missing along with their two children after they walked out of their homes in Paldi area of the city, police said on Tuesday. Arif Memon and Mohammad Soheb, both brothers, married to Ayeshabibi and Navirabibi, respectively, filed a complaint stating that their wives have gone missing.”The sisters who are Pakistani nationals and married to brothers from Ahmedabad left their homes in Paldi along with their two children — a two-year-old boy and a three-month-old girl–on evening of October 23,” Paldi police station sub-inspector R D Gojiya said.”They also carried their passports and marriage certificates. They are untraceable since then,” he added. He said that CCTV footage outside the residences of Memon and Soheb showed the women leaving with their belongings and children.There is no mention of the reason in the complaint on why the women left their house. Ayeshabibi had come to India around four years ago, while her younger sister Navirabibi two years back.”They cannot leave for Pakistan because for that they will have to seek permission from police for visa,” Gojiya added.

A not so ‘Happy Diwali’ for owls in Delhi!

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With Diwali around the corner, people in the city are busy buying sweets, gifts, but some are also making beelines for owls. The illegal trade is thriving at Delhi’s Kabootar Bazaar’ in Chandni chowk, a ground investigation by DNA revealed.Based on a centuries-old tradition, owls make way to the Indian bird markets during Diwali to be slaughtered to make the goddess happy. Some believe that sacrificing this nocturnal bird, which is the ‘vaahan’ of Goddess Lakshmi, known to be the goddess of wealth and prosperity, makes her stay for an entire year.All the 32 species of Indian owls are protected under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Under the Act, any killing or trading of owls is strictly prohibited and has serious risks/penalties. The bird has a varied reputation across cultures — some believe that they bring wealth and prosperity as it is associated with Goddess Lakshmi. In some cultures, it is considered to bring bad omen as well.Rameshwar Yadav, a doctor at the charity bird hospital run by the Digambar Jain community, located merely 500 metres away from the Kabootar Bazar, says that the wounded owls are often brought for medical aid. “Ahead of Diwali, the numbers go up. Three or four owls are brought every week. We hand them over to the wildlife department after treatment,”he said.After passing a few bird shops in the dingy lanes of Kabootar Bazaar, there is a shop where a young bearded man speaks about the owl trade. He confidently reveals,”Owls bring good fortune to people (and bad luck to their rivals) and thus amulets made of owl bones or nails are very high in demand in the market. I can get one to show you, but you will have to shell some big money for the trader as they come from outside the city.”On being probed, he confirmed the price, a small owl costs anywhere between Rs 4,000-7,000 and the price of a bigger one would land between Rs 11,000-14,000.Despite full awareness of the consequences, the traders are not discouraged to deal in the bird, especially during Diwali time. While every bird seller seemed reluctant to speak about it, he admitted, that they are being sold, but he doesn’t know who sells them.After further inquiry, one of the shopkeepers confirmed that this is the peak season of owl selling and if paid in advance, he can show us one.Traders from outside Delhi, mainly Kanpur, Lucknow, Meerut and parts of Uttarakhand (Nainital and Haldwani) come to this market to deal in Owls. Since ‘forest owl’ is the highest in demand, it fears the most threat. Abrar Ahmed, an ornithologist, in his report on this topic for the wildlife protection organisation TRAFFIC and WWF India in 2010, writes that there are probably at least 50 active wild-bird selling points/localities in India. Twenty-one of these are major bird markets with an estimated annual turnover of between 20,000 and 50,000 wild birds, including a trade in owls.In 2006, a case widely reported in the media stated that an owl weighing 3 kg was allegedly sold for Rs 3 million. Four wealthy people, assisted by a claim to be from Ahmedabad (Gujarat), visited well-known bird markets in northern and eastern India seeking a large owl. It is unclear how the weight of an owl is related to its magical properties, even amongst black magic practitioners, although one in Delhi suggested that the heavier the owl, the older and therefore wiser it was.

PM Modi raising ‘triple talaq’ issue for political gains: Asaduddin Owaisi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “converting the triple talaq issue into a political tool” ahead of the Assembly elections in some states.”Around 7.36 crore Muslims are married in the country and they have not divorced. Hardly one per cent of Muslims have gone for ‘talaq’. But, (Narendra) Modi is making this a tool in his ‘Mann ki Baat’ for political gains in view of the forthcoming elections,” he told a public meeting at Kausa in Mumbra township.The Law Commission recently sought public views on abolition of the practice of ‘triple talaq’ among Muslims and on Uniform Civil Code, triggering a feverish debate in various quarters.Meanwhile, attacking the RSS, Owaisi said the country got freedom due to the efforts of “all” and not because of the “Sangh Parivar”.He demanded “justice” for Ishrat Jahan, a local girl, who along with others, was allegedly killed in a fake encounter by the police on the outskirts of Ahmedabad in 2004.The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen president also attacked Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for his “mediation” in ensuring the release of Karan Johar’s film ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ and Raj Thackeray, whose party Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) had opposed its release for featuring Pakistani actor Fawad Khan.”It is a mockery to suggest that the (army) jawans should get Rs 5 crore,” the Hyderabad MP said in an apparent reference to Thackeray asking filmmakers, who had worked with Pakistani actors, to contribute Rs 5 crore as “prayschit” (penance) money to Army Welfare Fund.

Rlys now berths 44 cr passengers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Railways, which is just days away from the Diwali passenger rush— among the densest anywhere in the world, has managed to keep some part of its promise of a confirmed ticket for every passenger by 2020. It has managed to increase the number of confirmed berths available annually on its trains from 37.1 crore in 2014 to 44.7 crore in 2016. This is a jump of over 20 per cent. To put matters into perspective, the 44.7 crore figure is bigger than the population of all countries in the world other than China and India.The huge jump in berths has come about because of the increase in number of trains run over the past couple of years. Statistics available with the railway ministry show that over the last two years, it ran a whopping 70,000 special trains. Moreover, during this period it introduced 308 new trains, extended 99 trains, increased the frequency per week (fpw) of 188 trains and permanently added 1,610 coaches to various trains. The Railways ran a little over 2.5 lakh extra coach trips in the past two years, ministry data shows.According to data from the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report of June this year, between 2010 to 2015, the total number of passengers carried by the Railways was 3,054 crore of which 829 crore were non-suburban passengers. This comes to around 165.8 crore per year, though a sizable part of this number would be travelling in unreserved coaches, said officials.Good intentions apart, it is not going to be a smooth ride for the ‘confirmed seat on demand’ mission, agreed officials, because as the economy grows and along with it income, newer passengers would want to travel in higher—sleeper and air-conditioned—classes. A study of the passengers carried over one kilometre (called PKM in railway operation terminology) shows that for every 100 passengers carried over a kilometre, 25 passengers travel by sleeper class, and 65 per cent by unreserved coaches. The rest travel by higher classes like First or Executive chair car.Moreover, the recently-announced Regional Air-Connectivity Scheme (RACS), announced by the Civil Aviation Ministry could take over a decade before it starts reducing railway passenger numbers for the better. “The number of seats available on a daily basis on the Railways to the ‘Y’ cities is so much higher than what any regional connectivity airline can match at least in the next few years,” explained a railway official.Under government classifications, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad Hyderabad and Pune are ‘X’ cities, the rest divided into Y and smaller urban agglomerations into Z categories.

Swindlers’ List

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With Diwali around the corner, Manish Waale (AGE, RESIDENCE??) needed to figure out how to make some more money, and quickly, when he came across a call centre that promised the sky was the limit on incentives. There were no targets, it was a fixed night shift, and the weekly offs were also fixed. Plus, it was a call centre for international collections, and as anyone familiar with the call centre industry will tell you, these are more prestigious than the domestic ones.It sounded too good to be true. And it was, as Waale discovered to his horror in early October when a posse of about 200 policemen barged their way into a nondescript building in Penkarpada area in Mira Road in Thane district that housed seven floors (CHECK) of call centres.”I had joined thinking that i will quit in the month of November after earning good salary and incentives,” Waale told dna. Unfortunately, his dreams of a Diwali with a bulging wallet has now turned into a nightmare. “We have to attend the police stations whenever they contact us,” he says.The Mira Road call centre scam, perhaps the biggest such in the BPO industry’s almost two-decade existence, led to 700 persons being detained and uncovered a sophisticated scheme to bilk US citizens out of money by pretending to be calling from the United States’ Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or the US Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS), two of the most feared branches of the federal government.The Thane police estimate the racket had squeezed as much as Rs 500 crore out of the victims. What’s more, the scam had been going on for almost a year, and came to light only after those who had been approached or already badgered into parting with their money complained to the respective departments.The modus operandi was straightforward.The call centres would get lists of tax ‘defaulters’ from their US-based counterparts. The Indian call centre would then call up the victims using Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) aka internet-based calls. The calls would threaten them that if they did not pay up the fine amount of $10,000, they would be jailed for two months. The victims were also told that if they failed to make the payment, they would be blacklisted by the department, their driving licenses impounded, and their Social Security Number blocked. Once the victim capitulated, the fraudsters would tell them to make the payment either through Target gift cards or iTunes money transfer system.The money generated through the fraud would be distributed in a 30:70 ratio between the US and Indian members of the syndicate.The script typically went like this.They would first list the three counts under which the victims were being charged: Violation of tax regulation, wilful misrepresentation of information to a government organisation, and theft by deception.They would then close any legal avenues, saying the victim could no longer approach a tax lawyer or a CPA, and that all government benefits, including the right to work, would be suspended, their bank accounts frozen, a lien taken out on all their assets, and their passports seized.Needless to say, thousands of US residents fell prey to the threats and shelled out whatever amount they could.For example, Khusboo Bansal, a resident of Henderson in Las Vegas, told Thane police in an email: “I had received a call from an impostor claiming to be from USCIS on September 19th, the caller claimed to be an immigration officer. The caller did not allow me to consult anyone and put me on call for two consecutive hours and said I have a criminal case pending in India. I was told that I would be arrested or deported. The caller then convinced me to buy 1500 USD iTunes card and share its number.”Katie Dutcher, a resident of Emeryville in California, also wrote to Thane police stating her friend was duped to the tune of $35000.Another victim, Madhukar Keer, an engineer in Texas lost $1,00,000 to the fraud.Life at a bogus call centreThe callers would troop in at 7 p.m. Everyday, put on their headsets and wait for the numbers to call to be put up in the database.“We were rolling out and speaking to the Americans and we spoke with authority unlike other call centres who managed the customer service of banks and electronic gadgets or from the loan departments of the bank who are soft-spoken (and) who eventually get bullied by the offshore customers,” said says Dinesh Prajapati, a resident of Bhayander who worked at one of the Mira Road call centres.From pep talk to pressure tactics, the callers had been trained to adopt a voice of gravitas to convince the victims they were from the government.With a week of training and mock calls, the employees were ready to swoop. And each time they tricked someone into giving up a large amount of money, they would clap.Ironically, the employees had been instructed during training that recovering money from Americans was their only motto, and referred to themselves in the office as ‘Robinhoods’ – an act of either extreme animosity towards the first world or an appalling ignorance of the term.While some joined through word of mouth, others came through their relatives, friends and former colleagues who had eventually entered the scam in the lure of easy money. For some, the routine was simple, having earlier worked with professional call centres.Terming it exciting, Siddhesh Kulkarni, a resident of Malad says “It was unlike other call centres in which i had to sulk for 12 hours to achieve the targets and not be rewarded despite our hard work.”“We were having fun as we managed to not only work for the company but for ourselves, too, as we could easily keep track of the money made by us for the company and the incentives which we would get after a month, including the salary package, and that too without any deductions,” he said.“But Americans are not easy to fool,” recalls Razia Sayyed, “They often abused us on the calls in English, while if we had connected to an Indian based in the US, they often went to the extent of abusing us in Hindi.”“Every employee attended (to) over hundred callers from which they narrowed down the leads, which would turn into prospects, and later was handed over to the closer to complete the scam,” a crime branch officer said.The Gujarat connectionThe police investigation revealed that the fraudsters had a couple of years ago set up their headquarters in Ahmedabad. It was from there that the first batch of bulk voicemails would be sent out to the victims.“Blasting of messages meant sending pre-recorded messages on the voicemails of as many as one lakh US citizens at one go,” said deputy commissioner of police, crime, Parag Manere.The message went like this: “Hi, I am calling from Internal Revenue Services. You are being informed that you have not filed proper returns and have suppressed you income in last few years and an investigation has been initiated against you. This is the last chance given to you. This is a federally monitored call and if you hang up the call it would mean you do not wish to cooperate with the investigative agency and within 30 minutes IRS and local police would come at your door step and place you under arrest.’This was usually good enough to lure people into calling back the number mentioned in the voicemail, and that is where the call centre’s work kicked in.“When the victims called back, the calls used to land in Ahmedabad and from there the calls were routed to Mira Road,” Manere said. “Here, the receivers of calls used to threaten and extort money impersonating as IRS officials. Victims were asked to buy target cards, send its 16 digit number and then the said number was shared with US counterparts of the syndicate.”“After having a successful run in Ahmedabad, the masterminds expanded their con to Mira Road and other parts of the country such as Delhi, Haryana, Noida and its nearby areas,” said another officer, who requested anonymity.Thane police also raided five more call centres in Ahmedabad which were allegedly owned by the same persons who operated the Mira Road ones.”During investigation, we found out that those running ‘call centres’ on Mira Road have also invested in Ahmedabad-based call centres. Based on intelligence, we conducted raids at five call centres situated at Pinnacle Business Park in Ahmedabad’s Prahlad Nagar on Saturday.,” said an officer on condition of anonymity.But news of the Mira Road raids had already reached Ahmedabad. By the time the police got there, the call centres there shut shop. “Equipment and everything else was removed from each centre of operation,” the office said.While 72 persons have been arrested in Thane, the masterminds – Sagar Thakkar aka Saggy, Ali, Tapesh, Jimmy and Akhil Singh – are absconding, leaving in their trail thousands of victims, as well as employees they convinced to take part in the scam.When greed wasn’t goodEvery employee in the Mira road call centre knew they were conning the Americans but they did not wanted to miss out the opportunity to earn large sums of money. Even the peons earned up to Rs 10,000 a month and were promised increments every six months.The employees were typically from middle- and lower middle-class families, including women and minor males from across Mira Road, Bhayander, Vasai, Nalasopara and Virar. Lured by the lucrative incentives, some , like 24-year-old ex-Tech Mahindra employee Johnson Dantas, quit jobs in professional call centres to join the scam. Now embroiled in a legal morass, they gather outside the Thane Crime Branch Unit 1 to find out whether they, too, are liable to be arrested.“We are unaware about our future as we got the job after lot of hardship and I am the only member of the family who earns, as my mother is unwell,” says Sufiyan Majurki,21 a resident of Naya Nagar in Mira Road who has been arrested.In fact, the fact that he landed the job itself came as a surprise. “He doesn’t even know to speak English properly and we never believed him that he worked for the International call centre,” said his friends who are now trying to get him released. They declined to be named for this article.Avinash Master, 24, is from a middle class family near Majithiya Park in Rajmata Nagar of Nalasopara East. Among his friends, he quickly became known for his money, which he would splurge on parties or high-end phones. A class,ate of one of the ringleaders, Saggy, Master worked with him in Ahmedabad and was later charged with setting up operations in Mira Road.His family is now in shock after the turn of events. “We did not knew about the the scam but was only told that he worked for International call centre,” said his brother Abhishek.The youngest director of the firm, 22-yar-old Dharmesh Solanki, a resident of Nirmal Kunj area at SV Road in Bhayander (East), found out that hard way that short-cuts may lead to a dead-end.“He discussed about how the firm was functioning well and the employees were able to recover money from the Americans after they were handed over the contract by the US based agencies”, said his family members, who also declined to be named. Solanki, who wanted to do an MBA but could not because of a lack of finances, slipped into his senior role easily, say family members, even discarding his college threads for formal wear to look the part. All it got him, unfortunately, is a prison uniform.

AI plane from Ahmedabad suffers tyre burst; passengers safe

Tue, 18 Oct 2016-10:48am , Mumbai , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An Air India plane carrying 128 passengers and crew members from Ahmedabad suffered a tyre burst while landing at the city airport this morning. All passengers are safe and another aircraft has been arranged to ferry passengers to their onward journey, an Air India spokesperson in New Delhi said. “Air India flight AI 614 from Ahmedabad for Mumbai with 128 passengers and crew members suffered a tyre bust at 0904 hours during landing at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport today,” the spokesperson said. The Airbus A320 aircraft was to fly to Raipur as AI 651, the spokesperson said, adding the airline has already pressed into service another aircraft to fly the passengers to their destination.

Jammu & Kashmir: Eight-fold surge in terror infiltrations across LoC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It’s been a tough year for Indian forces in Jammu and Kashmir, as they have been battling an eight-time jump in terrorist infiltrations. Apart from this shocking statistic, officials say that the rising number of cases of arson by raging mobs suggests a rise in local recruitment this year.According to officials, the good news is that ‘surgical strikes’ have brought cheer at a time when infiltration is at an all-time high with 87 cases reported this year, while the tally last year was 10.“Ceasefire violations have taken place in hundreds for the last five-six years… The only difference is that if they do it now, we give a befitting reply,” said Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar at an event in Ahmedabad on Monday. However, officials warn that the situation is only going to get worse from here with Pakistan-based terrorists planning retaliation. According to ground intelligence and intercepts, more men have been pumped in by terror groups to strike at Indian forces. This has kept the forces on its toes with the terrorists kills also doubling. Sources said with more infiltration, even the numbers of kills have increased. Last year, in the corresponding period, around 70 terrorists were gunned down, while the tally this year has reached 128. While the Army has killed 120 terrorists, the other operations were carried out by local police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).Clearly, the surgical strikes destroying terror launchpads have not deterred Pakistani-based terrorists from planning more strikes. “The infiltration attempts are still continuing,” said a government official.Sources said a number of infiltrations have occurred along the LoC and it seems the terrorists are going back to the old routes used for penetrating into Indian territory. In 2013 and 2014, there had been increased infiltration from new routes along the International Border (IB).The assessment of infiltrations increasing is based on ground intelligence from civilians, intercepts and evidence of fence-cutting in some areas.The recent trend of the increasing cases of arson has been a cause of worry for the forces. Around 100 arms were looted by raging mobs protesting against the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen local commander Burhan Wani.Sources said this is also an indication that local terrorist recruitment is happening as arms are needed for them.Since Wani’s killing in July, mass protests triggered turmoil in the state with over 80 deaths and thousands wounded over the last three months. Army sources said that since then operations in South Kashmir have taken a hit.Intelligence inputs also indicate that after India’s surgical strikes, the Pakistani Army has carried out “precautionary deployment” all along the LoC, as they fear another round of strikes from Indian forces.“Soon after our raids, they have increased deployment in areas they consider vulnerable. Precautionary deployment is roughly 25 percent of a full mobilisation aimed to plug the gaps,” said an intelligence officer.Fears of local recruitment by Pakistan-based terror groups, has also alarmed security forces. It is estimated that around 100 youths have gone missing in the last three months.

Fake call centre scam: Mastermind Thakkar’s ‘mentor’ Jagdish Kanani arrested in Mumbai

Thane: A Mumbai businessman who ‘mentored’ Sagar Thakkar alias Shaggy, the alleged mastermind of the multi-million dollar fake call center racket, wherein US-based taxpayers were allegedly conned by Indian tele-callers, has been arrested, police said on Monday.

The 33-year-old man, identified as Jagdish Kanani was arrested from suburban Borivali on Sunday night, a senior police officer said on the condition of anonymity.

According to police, Thakkar, who is on the run, has worked under Kanani in the past at Ahmedabad and Mumbai, where he and some of his associates picked up the tricks of trade from his ‘Guru’.

In fact, Kanani started out working in a BPO firm abroad where he learnt the methods of collection through outsourcing firms and brushed up his knowledge to build a lucrative business and then set up fake call centres across the country to earn a quick buck by extorting money from US victims, the officer said.

Kanani came on the police radar after leads during interrogation of the arrested accused in the racket, he said.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Kanani is a prized catch for the Thane Police as it will help the cops dig more into the con syndicate which has spread its tentacles nationwide including in cities like Gurgaon, Ahmedabad and Thane, he said.

The officer said that Kanani was the brain behind the fake call centres across the country including the one at Mira Road which was raided by Thane Police earlier this month. He is suspected to have helped Thakkar in shaping and setting up his ventures.

“Now that we have arrested him, we will get to know the whereabouts of Thakkar and others, whom he also mentored,” the police officer added.

Crime Branch (Thane Police) have so far arrested 70 persons after it raided seven call centres operating illegally in Mira Road here. Another 630 people were booked under IPC sections 384 (extortion), 419 (cheating by impersonation), 420 (cheating) and under relevant sections of IT Act and Indian Telegraph Act.

The callers used to make calls to people in the US and speak to them in American accent by posing as officials of US Internal Revenue Service. Subsequently, police teams also raided and shut down five call centres in Ahmedabad which were a part of the racket.

Also, investigations into the racket has led Thane Police to suspect involvement of the son of a senior IPS officer from Gujarat in running these illegal call centres in Ahmedabad.

Investigators found that the call centres in Ahmedabad, which were raided by local police recently, resumed their operations soon afterwards.

Thane Crime Branch is probing why no concrete action was taken against these call centres.

During interrogation of several arrested accused, investigators got information about illegal call centres running in Pralhad Nagar in Ahmedabad since 2009.

Police also found a huge server installed in one of these call centres (in Ahmedabad) which had the entire data base generated from the call centres which were part of the racket, including the ones in Mira Road.

Haider, one of the arrested men, has told police that Thakkar allegedly gave 30 per cent of the ill-gotten income to his agents in the United States who provided him data base of US tax-payers.

Of the remaining amount, 40 per cent went to Tapesh Gupta, Akhilesh Singh, Rahul Dogra, Jimmy (all absconding accused) and Haider, while Sagar kept the 60 per cent share.

The daily turn-over from the call centers in Mira Road was around Rs 2 crore, police said.

Call executives were designated as ‘dialler’, who made the call and ‘closer’, who carried out final ‘negotiations’. Dialler got two rupees per every US dollar earned by the racketeers, while the ‘closer’ got three rupees per every US dollar as incentive, over and above the salary, they said.

As the unearthing of this mammoth racket which was going on for several years could harm India’s reputation as a hub of BPO and outsourcing industry, the authorities were taking the matter very seriously, the officer added.

Arvind Kejriwal meets family of youth killed by cow vigilantes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Family members of a Muslim youth, who was allegedly killed by cow vigilantes on the suspicion of carrying a calf for slaughter, on Sunday met Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in Vadodara.Mhammad Ayyub was beaten on SG Highway on the night of September 13 after his car met with an accident and a calf he was carrying died. Some people allegedly beat him up suspecting he was carrying the calf for slaughter, according to the police. He died at civil hospital in Ahmedabad three days later.Mohammad Arif, his brother, travelled to Vadodara from Ahmedabad on Sunday with his two sisters to meet Kejriwal.”We met Kejriwal at the circuit house and sought his help to get justice for our brother. He assured us that he will help us in getting justice and also took our mobile number and said he will meet us when he is in Ahmedabad next time,” Arif said.”We asked for his help in getting the three main culprits, all cow vigilantes, arrested. Police have arrested (other) eight persons. We also sought his help in getting compensation. Government never cared to contact us to find out about our plight,” he said.After the incident, police had formed a special investigation team which has arrested eight persons so far. But Arif alleged that main culprits, “Janak Mistry, Ajay Rabari and Bharat Rabari, were still at large”.

Guj polls 2017: Arvind Kejriwal meets Patidar agitator families, labels BJP oppressive

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid the ongoing Patidar agitation in Gujarat, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal visited the families of deceased Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) pro-reservationists Girish and Siddharth and asked the Gujarat government to severely punish the politician who gave shooting orders to the police. The two died in police firing during a massive rally in Ahmedabad in August last year. “It is a tendency of the Bharatiya Janata Party to oppress the people and whoever opposes them. We have met with the families of Girish and Siddharth, and as you can see, we have met numerous agitator families who have been murdered, and the one thing coming out, is that the agitators were armless when the police fired. I honestly believe it is a murder, because they were innocent,” Kejriwal said. “Whichever leader has given the order to fire, he should be punished, so that the agitator families get justice,” he added. He said, “There are numerous agitator families where no one is earning money, the agitator family survivors have a daughter and a wife who get only four lakh rupees as concession from the government which is useless. So, it is our request to the Government of India to release the right compensation to the agitator families. I have talking to an agitator daughter whose school annual fees is Rupees three lakhs. From where are they supposed to get it, give them the right amount of money so that they can survive and stand on their feet? It is the government’s duty to take care of these families,” he said.”Protests are taking place under the watch of BJP president Amit Shah and they will continue. Our Gujarat leader Gulab Singh has been arrested on charges of conspiracy which is non-bailable. Basically, it has proved that the BJP is scared, and now is oppressing the agitators like they did in Gujarat and Delhi. The nation will rise up and oppose this oppression.

Gujarat: Arvind Kejriwal branded ‘traitor’ for seeking proof of surgical strikes

Sat, 15 Oct 2016-11:41pm , Ahmedabad , ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ahead of Arvind Kejriwal’s tour to Surat, posters attacking him sprang up in the city, placing the Delhi Chief Minister alongside terrorists like Osama bin Laden, Hafiz Saeed and the Hizbul Mujahideen’s Burhan Wani. “Heroes of Pakistan,” said the posters. However the posters were hurriedly removed by Aam Aadmi Party activists.Kejriwal has drawn strong criticism for asking the government to provide evidence of the Indian Army’s surgical strikes across the Line of Control against terrorist launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir earlier this month. Posters branding him “traitor” have been put up in north Gujarat’s Surat and Unjha, where he met families of those killed during the Patel agitation in Gujarat on Saturday.

In a bid to prevent malpractices Gujarat govt bars internet use in state, revokes order later

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Gujarat government decided on Thursday to suspend mobile Internet services for four hours on October 16 during the clerk-level competitive examination in a bid to prevent adoption of any unfair means by candidates but revoked the order hours later.Earlier in the day, Gujarat Subordinate Service Selection Board (GSSSB) chairman Asit Vora had informed the media that district collectors have been asked to take steps to suspend mobile Internet services on October 16 to prevent adoption of unfair means by candidates sitting for the examination.However, an official statement quoting Minister of State for Home Pradipsinh Jadeja later said, “The state Home department has decided not to ban mobile Internet service in connection with the subordinate service competitive examination on Sunday, October 16.””Mobile Internet services will continue as usual across state,” it added. Vora had earlier said, “On our request, district collectors have been asked to ban mobile Internet services between 10 AM and 2 PM on Sunday so that mobile phones are not used for unfair means during the written examination for the post of class IV non-Secretariat clerks and office assistants for cheating.”Ahmedabad in-charge collector AB Gor had also said that district administration has been asked to do the same if it is required to prevent malpractices during the examination. As many as 7.67 lakh aspirants will sit for the test at various centres located in district headquarters across Gujarat, for around 3,000 vacancies.

Gujarat ATS nabs two suspected spies working for Pakistan’s ISI in Kutch

Gujarat ATS nabs two suspected spies working for Pakistan’s ISI in Kutch

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Ahmedabad: The Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) has nabbed two persons allegedly working as spies for Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI, police said.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Both of them were held tonight from Kutch district, which shares border with the neighbouring country.

“ATS was keeping a close watch on the movement of two residents of Khavda village of Kutch for last one year on the suspicion that they are working as spies of Pakistan’s ISI. Both of them were held by ATS today,” a police official said on the condition of anonymity.

“We have learnt that ATS has recovered one Pakistani SIM card along with a mobile phone during the search of their house,” he added.

The arrest comes amid rising tension between India and Pakistan.

Arvind Kejriwal to meet families of Patel youths killed in Patidar agitation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will meet families of the youths who were killed during the Patidar (Patel) quota agitation in Ahmedabad and Mehsana when he visits Gujarat next week. The state would having Assembly elections next year. Kejriwal, whose party is making efforts to make inroads in Gujarat, will also hold a rally in Surat on October 16.”Arvind Kejriwal will come to Gujarat on October 15 and will head for Mehsana where he will meet family members of youths who were martyred during Patidar quota agitation. He will also visit family members of deceased youths in Ahmedabad,” Aam Aadmi Party’s Delhi MLA and Gujarat in-charge Gulab Singh Yadav said.”Kejriwal will meet Patidar leaders at Mehsana circuit house,” Yadav said, adding that the AAP’s national convener will also visit Umiya Mata temple at Unjha in Mehsana. Umiya Mata is a revered deity of the Patidar community.On October 16, Kejriwal will hold a public rally at Yogi Chowk in Surat’s Varachha area, Yadav said. Before the rally, Kejriwal will meet business leaders and people from various communities. Yadav alleged that BJP workers and Surat Municipal Corporation were tearing down the hoardings put up by AAP ahead of the rally.”In the last two days our hoardings were torn by BJP supporters and the municipal corporation,” he said.”BJP supporters are trying to spread a rumour that Kejriwal supports Pakistan. But people are not affected by this, they are looking forward to his visit. The kind of fear visible in BJP camp due to the planned rally shows that the party is somewhere apprehensive about defeat in the 2017 Assembly elections,” he said.

Surgical strikes: Airports in western states, Delhi, Hyderabad on alert

New Delhi: Civil airports in western states and important ones like those in Delhi, Hyderabad and Bengaluru have been put on a high alert as part of the heightened security arrangements following cross-LoC surgical strikes by the Indian Army.

Airports on high alert. AFPAirports on high alert. AFP

Airports on high alert. AFP

Airports in Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Bengaluru have been asked to step up vigil and security to tackle any attack or sabotage.

“Security measures at vital airports have been stepped up….put on a high alert,” CISF Director General O P Singh told PTI.

Officials said a decision in this regard was notified by the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) following which the airports, especially hyper-sensitive ones like those in Mumbai and Delhi, were put on alert.

They said the Central Industrial Security Force chief had also reviewed airport security during a recent meeting with his top officials posted at all the sensitive airports.

“While a general review was done for all airports, some specific facilities were asked to be extra-vigilant,” they said, without elaborating.

Counter-sabotage teams, bomb squads and commando teams have been asked to be extra-vigilant to thwart any possible terror strikes, sources said.

Gulberg society massacre: Gujarat HC admits appeals of 16 convicts for final hearing

Wed, 5 Oct 2016-12:35am , Ahmedabad , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday admitted for final hearing the appeals filed by 16 of the 24 convicts in the 2002 Gulberg society riot case.69 people including former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri were killed in the violence at Gulberg society in Ahmedabad during the 2002 Gujarat riots. The appeals of these 16 convicts will now come up for final hearing before the division bench of justices Anant S Dave and BN Karia. Others have not filed the appeals yet.On June 17, the special court for the riot cases sentenced 11 convicts to life imprisonment, 12 persons to seven years’ jail term and one person to 10 years in jail. The court acquitted 36 others.VHP leader Atul Vaidh and Mangilal Jain (who is the only convict to get 10 years’ jail term) are among those who have filed the appeals. The Gulberg society massacre took place on March 28, 2002, a day after the Godhra train burning incident which led to communal riots in Gujarat.

Gujarat: Dalits refuse to dispose cattle carcasses in protest against rising atrocities

Ahmedabad: On the outskirts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s home city, the stench from cow carcasses littering the roadside is overpowering as India’s lowest social caste keeps up protests against deep-rooted discrimination.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Dalits, previously known as ‘untouchables’, stopped collecting carcasses more than two months ago in Gujarat state, after the brutal beating of four Dalit youths accused of killing a cow, considered sacred in India.

A video of the public flogging carried out by upper-caste cow-protection vigilantes in Gujarat went viral, triggering outrage across the country.

“Our Dalit brothers were thrashed so severely merely for doing what has been their work for centuries,” said Somabhai Yukabhai, 49, among those who have stopped collecting and skinning dead cows, a traditional and grisly job restricted to Dalits.

“I would rather starve to death than collect the dead cows,” said the father of three, as a dog feasted on calf remains on the outskirts of Gujarat’s largest city Ahmedabad.

“The fight now is about our dignity. We will not sit quietly now,” he added.

The carcasses are seen by critics as an embarrassing eyesore for Hindu nationalist Modi who has long hailed Gujarat as a shining example of India’s economic progress.

His party also risks losing votes at upcoming elections because of the fury about the attack in July. Dalits have sizeable numbers in Gujarat and two other states gearing up for next year’s polls, experts say.

The attack, during which the youths were stripped to their waists before being flogged, shows violence is still being meted out to Dalits six decades after India banned caste discrimination.

Authorities have concluded a wild lion, not the four youths, killed the cow and the youngsters were legally skinning the animal for its leather. Police this month formally filed charges against their attackers.

The incident was a tipping point for many Dalits, who feel they can no longer tolerate such attacks, said charismatic Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani.

“Economic exploitation on one hand and caste-based violence on the other has completely frustrated them, especially the youth,” said Mevani, a 35-year-old lawyer.

“The Una (village) incident proved to be the last straw.”

The violent protests that erupted in July over the attack, leaving one police officer dead, have passed for now. But Dalits have kept up their strike against collecting the carcasses, although municipal authorities have taken over in some areas.

AFP reporters saw about 10 dead cows next to a main road leading into the city. Cows roam freely in Hindu-majority India and killing them is illegal in most states.

Dalits, who form 16.6 percent of the national population, roughly 200 million people, performed the most dirty and dangerous jobs such as removing dead animals and human waste under India’s caste system.

Determined by birth, the centuries-old system dictated hierarchy in Indian society including profession and level of education available.

Despite the ban discrimination remains rife: Some 27 percent of Indians reported regularly carrying out “untouchability” — such as refusing Dalits entry to their kitchen, or setting aside different utensils for them — according to a survey last year by India’s National Council of Applied Economic Research and America’s University of Maryland.

Reported crimes against Dalits increased 44 percent between 2010 and 2014, official figures show. A Dalit boy was burnt to death in 2014 for letting his goat stray onto land owned by an upper-caste farmer.

Though some experts cautioned that the increase could be down to growing awareness of the need to report atrocities, rather than a jump in actual cases.

But aspirations of and opportunities for young Dalits have grown after years of India’s booming economic growth with hundreds of thousands flocking to cities for work and study.

Literacy rates among Dalits are 66 percent nationally, while government jobs and university places are reserved for a string of different low castes under affirmative action policies.

At a Dalit settlement dotted with ramshackle brick houses near Ahmedabad, residents spoke of facing discrimination on a daily basis.

“We are not allowed to enter temples, fetch water from public taps or drink from the same cups at tea stalls,” said Babulal Mackwan, a shoemaker.

Activist Mevani said Dalits would end their strike over the carcasses only if the state government vowed to stamp out caste oppression and gave five acres (two hectares) of land to every Dalit family affected.

At a skinning field strewn with cow remains in Gujarat’s Surendranagar district, Dalits said the strike was hurting them financially. Dalits have traditionally and legally made a living from the carcasses — including by selling hides to tanneries and fat to soap makers.

But they said they were tired of being relentlessly targeted by hard line Hindus belonging to cow-protection squads and were prepared to keep up the strike.

“Even when we are transporting hides or bones, we are targeted by cow mobs. We are asked to cough up bribes or face beatings,” said local Dalit activist Natubhai Parmar.

He added: “But we will not bow down this time. We are prepared for a long fight.”

Pakistani boat with nine people on board apprehended off Gujarat coast

Pakistani boat with nine people on board apprehended off Gujarat Coast

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Ahmedabad: A Pakistani boat with nine people on board was on Sunday apprehended off the Gujarat coast by the Indian Coast Guard.

ICGS Samudra Pavak apprehended the boat at about 10.15 am off Gujarat coast, the Coast Guard said, adding preliminary information indicated those on board were Pakistani fishermen.

Security agencies have been extra cautious in view of the prevailing security scenario following the surgical strike by Indian army on terror camps across the LoC.

Further investigation is on and the apprehended Pakistanis will be quizzed at Porbandar.

PM Modi extends greetings on occasion of Navratri

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday extended his greetings to the nation on the auspicious occasion of Navratri.”My greetings to everyone as the auspicious Navratri commences,” Prime Minister Modi tweeted.The festival of Navratri begins today. This year Navratri will be celebrated for 10 days.The festival will culminate on October 11 with Dussehra celebrations.Meanwhile, Navratri celebrations began in Gujarat. The state government has organized vibrant Gujarat Navratri Mahotsav, a garba festival at GMDC Ground in Ahmedabad.Thousands of devotees are reaching at the temples of Ashapura Mata at Mata na Madh in Kutch, Ambaji Mata temple in North Gujarat and Bahuchraji Mata Temple in Central Gujarat.Garba and Dandiya groups have also been organized during this Navratri festival.Chief Minnister Vijay Rupani will inaugurate the Vibrant Gujarat Navratri Mahotsav at Ahmedabad this evening.Navratri is known for its ancient, traditional and modern garba and dandiya in Gujarat hugely participated by young generation.In Himachal Pradesh, the devotees in large number are reaching at historical temples since morning on the beginning of Ashwin or Sharad Navratras from Saturday.They are paying obeisance before various forms of Goddess Durga while special Puja and Havan Yagya have also begun in temples.During the Navratras, thousands of devotees are expected to visit historical temples in the state.Therefore, the district administrations, especially in three districts Kangra, Bilaspur and Una have made elaborate arrangements to facilitate devotees.

Fishermen along Gujarat maritime border asked not to venture into sea

Fishermen along Gujarat maritime border asked not to venture into sea

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Ahmedabad: Fishermen along the international maritime border in Kutch district of Gujarat have been advised not to venture into the deep sea following Thursday’s surgical strikes by Indian forces across the Line of Control (LoC).

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The fishermen have also been asked to remain within the state regions.

Officials said they have been asked to be on alert and be in constant touch with the security agencies as well as share information about any suspicious movement.

Similarly, people in the land borders in north Gujarat’s Banaskantha region have been told to keep a vigil for any movement.

Sources, however, said unlike Punjab, there are no plans for evacuation of people in the border areas.

UNESCO team starts evaluating sites in Ahmedabad for heritage tag

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A UNESCO team on Wednesday started its five-day visit to the monuments here to evaluate if the city deserves a world heritage status.The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) had submitted an application in UNESCO for granting of world heritage city tag. A team headed by Adel Farhangi Shabesstari, a south Asia expert of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) is here on a “tentative nomination technical evaluation mission” for the city’s demand for the heritage city tag, a government release said. Shabesstari and his team visited some monuments in the city and will continue his evaluation tomorrow, wherein he will be joined by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) experts, AMC officer on special duty (heritage), Dilip Gaur said.Adalaj Ni Vav (AFP)Shabesstari also met Chief Minister Vijay Rupani during which he was acquainted with the “home stay” and transferable development rights (TDR) policies of the state government, the release said.”Glad to have received experts from ICOMOS who are on five days visit to the city of Ahmedabad,” Rupani tweeted. “The city of Ahmedabad is in race of getting UNESCO world heritage city status and if it succeeds, it will be first city in India to get such honour,” the Chief Minister said in another tweet.

Thane: Husband ordered by court to pay maintenance to HIV+ve wife

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Thane district court has upheld the order of a magistrate ordering a 25-year-old man to pay maintenance to his HIV infected wife, and dismissed the appeal filed against it by the husband and his parents.The woman stated in her application that her marriage was solemnised with the man, a resident of Kalamboli in Raigad district, on May 20, 2013, in Uttar Pradesh.While the couple was residing in Ahmedabad, the woman became pregnant following which her blood test was done in which it was revealed that she was HIV positive.Following the disclosure, the husband sent the woman to her parents’ house and they bore the expenses of her delivery and medical treatment.The woman, now residing at her parents house since she is unable to maintain herself and her child, sought interim relief, including Rs 37,000 maintenance per month.After hearing both the parties, Thane Judicial Magistrate had earlier ordered the husband to pay Rs 6,000 per month as maintenance to his wife.However, the woman’s husband and his parents challenged the magistrate’s order which was recently upheld by the court of District Judge P P Jadhav.Judge Jadhav observed that the applicant (woman) is residing with her parents because of refusal by opponents (husband and his family) to allow her to co-habit with them.At this stage, it cannot be ascertained as to how the applicant got infected with HIV.”The fact that she was diagnosed HIV+ve after the marriage is itself sufficient to conclude that she got infected while continuation of her marital relationship with the opponent,” the court observed.”Under such circumstances, being husband it was the boundant duty of the opponent to look after her and maintain her properly,” the Judge said.Though the opponents have not denied responsibility to maintain the child, no evidence is produced on record to show that the opponent is spending any amount for the same.Under such circumstances, the applicant being wife and having a child from opponent is entitled to be maintained by him, the court ruled while concluding that the order passed by the magistrate is proper, correct and legal.

First coach of Tejas train ready, train run to be conducted soon

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The first coach of the Railway’s premium offering – the premium Tejas brand of trains – has been built at the Rail Coach Factory at Kapurthala and is expected to be put on trial soon. According to RCF officials, the coach will be sent to the Railway Board, which will decide where the 130 kmph coach will be tested. According to the current schedule, officials said the train is likely to be commissioned by the Railways in February next year. The Railways plan to make three such rakes, said officials.One of the biggest challenges, officials said, would be fitting television screens on the back of the seats, a unique initiative that has not been done on Indian trains previously. However, it is yet to be ascertained how these enhanced features will perform at top speeds. Officials, however, said the first coach built, the pictures of which are available with dna, do not have TV screens fitted into the seats yet. The blue and yellow seats have an ergonomic design and provide a high level of comfort as compared to the seats fitted in the higher class coaches of trains currently.The Tejas train is positioned for the business traveller who is willing to pay more for superior travelling comforts, said railway officials. The nine sectors identified by the Railways that will attract passengers for Tejas include Delhi-Agra, Delhi-Chandigarh, Delhi-Kanpur, Nagpur-Bilaspur, Mysuru-Bengaluru-Chennai, Mumbai-Goa, Mumbai-Ahmedabad, Chennai-Hyderabad and Nagpur-Secunderabad. Officials said no specific route has been chosen for the Tejas rake.

Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani to host ‘Twitter townhall’ on Friday

Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani to host ‘Twitter townhall’ on Friday

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Ahmedabad: Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani will host a ‘Twitter townhall’ on Friday where citizens can ask any question related to the state government on the microblogging site to him.

“Happy to announce that I am hosting a Twitter townhall on 23 September,” Rupani tweeted.

“People of the state can ask me any question related to the development or administrative work or any other issues regarding the state,” Rupani said in a video message posted on Twitter.

“This is an attempt to build a bridge between people and the government and I am hopeful that through this programme, we will come to know many things and people will also be informed,” he added.

According to the Chief Minister, due to social media it has become easier to communicate with the people directly.

MPC to decide on your home loan EMIs on Oct 4: Short profiles of 3 members

For the interest rate setting Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), the government on Thursday announced the names of three eminent experts, who will be part of the six-member MPC. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) named Indian Statistical Institute professor Chetan Ghate, Delhi School of Economics director Pami Dua and Ravindra H Dholakia of IIM-Ahmedabad as members of MPC.

ReutersReuters

Reuters

According to reports, the Monetary Policy Committee will take decision on setting interest rates beginning with the next credit policy meet scheduled on 4 October. So, will these three government-appointed members and the RBI’s other three members set the ball rolling and go for another round of rate cut, especially in the wake of good monsoon and moderating inflation levels? And, will the home buyers get a rate-cut boost and would the equated monthly installments of the existing loans fall further?

While we will have to wait for a couple of weeks to know the decision, here’s a look at the short profiles of these three government appointed MPC members.

Chetan Ghate: He is an associate professor, Planning Unit, Indian Statistical Institute. He has a PhD from Claremont Graduate School, California. His areas of interest are macroeconomic theory and policy, growth and development, political economy, open economy macroeconomics. According to the Institute website, the focus of his research is economic growth, fluctuations, economic development, and monetary and fiscal policy in developing and emerging market economies.

“I have recently been working on unbalanced growth in India, fiscal policy in small open economies, monetary policy and terms of trade shocks, and endogenous growth models with endogenous investment specific technological change,” he says on the website. At the institute, he teaches at the graduate level courses in macroeconomics and monetary theory and policy.

Pami Dua: She is currently the head of the department at the Delhi School of Economics. After completing her graduation in economics in India, she did her masters and PhD in economics from the London School of Economics. Dua is also an expert in forecasting, economic forecasting, time series analysis, econometrics and applied macroeconomics.

Ravindra H Dholakia: He has been a professor of economics ares at IIM-Ahmedabad since 1985. According to the website, he has about 38 years of experience in teaching. He was a regular visiting faculty to teach at the European Management Institute (ESCP-EAP), Paris from 2002 to 2005.

He has collaborated on a series of research projects with the Earth Institute of Columbia University from 2004-05 to 2012-13. He has practical experience in high powered policy making and evaluation bodies in both state and central governments in India. Dholakia was also a Member of the High Level Committees on Leveraging Postal Network in India (Aug-Nov 2014), HR Issues in the Merger of Air India and Indian Airlines (May 2011- Jan 2012), a Member of the Sixth Central Pay Commission of the Government of India (2006 – 08); a Member of the Expert Committee on Restructuring of the State Public Sector Units (2004-08).

He has carried out numerous consulting assignments in the private and public sector companies in India and has done work for the international organizations like WHO, UNICEF, World Bank, UNDP, Hewlett Foundation, United Nations, UN–Mongolia, etc. He has also developed 15 international cases on economic planning and policy reforms based on experiences of countries in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean Islands, and North America.

This IIM-Ahmedabad professor has also served as an independent director on the Boards of Gujarat State Financial Services, National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange, Power Finance Corporation, State Trading Corporation, Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone, Adani Enterprises, Union Bank of India, Air India, Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation, etc. He was also President of the Indian Health Economics and Policy Association during 2012-13.

dna exclusive: US firm offers 500 kmph Maglev at Rs 138 crore per km

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An American firm specialising in magnetic levitation (Maglev) trains has created a stir by joining the fray for the Ultra High-Speed Trains, with a proposal for a Maglev train with a top speed of 500 km per hour at a construction cost of Rs 137.5 crore per km.The Railways had called for Expressions of Interest (EoI) for Maglev trains and they were opened on September 6. As reported by dna, six firms had submitted proposals.A comparison with the bullet train project will make it clear why the US firm’s proposal is significant. The cost of construction of the 320 kmph Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail, commonly called bullet train, is Rs 140 crore per km, considering the 508-km line has a construction cost of Rs 70, 915 crore, including land acquisition.The current construction cost of the 33.5 Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro is Rs 540 crore per km. This is justifiable since it is a completely underground system being built deep inside Mumbai’s hard basalt rock core.In an email chat with dna, Tony Morris, chief executive officer of the Georgia-based American Maglev Technology (AMT), confirmed the development. “American Maglev is expressing interest to transfer new intellectual property in order to partner with the Indian Railways to create a uniquely new mobility solution for the Indian subcontinent as well as a new green high-tech export with thousands of jobs for Indians. At less than $22 million (Rs 137.5 crore) per km, this technology will have wide application on a global basis. The 137.5 crore-per km proposal is all-inclusive, except for land acquisition,” Morris said.”For Maglev, we propose an elevated fixed guideway with no grade crossings (level crossings in Indian Railway lingo) of any kind. These elevated structures will be built above the existing publicly owned land like roadways, rail, and other utility corridors,” he said.While a few Railway officials dna spoke to agreed that the US firm’s proposal could give the proposed bullet train projects a run for their money, it might not be the case for Metro corridors in urban landscapes like Mumbai. With the Right of Way for Metro projects always an issue in land-starved Mumbai, having a ramrod straight corridor, as is required by Maglev trains, might be a distant dream in Mumbai.”The key issue for Maglev is that it requires a detailed study on the exact route alignment and the ability to keep the route very, very straight, without having to buy lots of private land. At 500 km per hour, the route must be almost perfectly straight, or else passengers will experience unacceptable, uncomfortable and unsafe forces. In a curve, the speed is limited by passenger comfort, and there is no compromise on passenger safety and comfort,” Morris explained.

2002 Naroda Gam riots: SC orders Gujarat court to complete trial within six months

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Monday ordered a Gujarat lower court to complete the trial of the 2002 Naroda Gam massacre case within six months.A special designated court in Ahmedabad is hearing the case. The court had in June 2105 reserved its order on an application moved by the accused seeking arraignment of former IPS officer Rahul Sharma and former investigating officer of this case P.L Mal for destroying evidence.The Naroda Patiya massacre took place on February 28, 2002, in Ahmedabad during the 2002 Gujarat riots in which 11 persons were killed. The massacre at Naroda occurred during the shutdown called by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad a day after the Godhra train burning.

2 wanted in 2003 ‘jihadi conspiracy’ case arrested by Gujarat ATS

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two men wanted in connection with the 2003 “jihadi conspiracy” hatched to avenge the post-Godhra riots have been arrested by Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad from Burhanpur in Madhya Pradesh, the ATS said on Monday.Abdul Razak Abdul Rahim Sheikh and Mohammad Shakeel Sheikh, both aged 36, were arrested for allegedly supplying arms and ammunition to two persons in Ahmedabad in 2003 to avenge the attacks on Muslims in the state during the post- 2002 Godhra riots.”The ATS team probing the case received information that the two accused, Abdul Razak Abdul Rahim Sheikh and Mohammad Shakeel Sheikh, were residing in Burhanpur in Madhya Pradesh by changing their identity,” the ATS said in a statement. The duo were working as mechanics at a garage in Burhanpur. The ATS kept a close watch on them before detaining them under Section 70 of the CrPC.During questioning, their alleged role in supplying arms and ammunition to two persons in Ahmedabad came to light, following which they were arrested. “The duo had provided 10 arms and ammunition to Mahmood Saiyed residing in Tokarsahi Pol and Farddebhai staying at Mastan Mohalla in Dariyapur. The accused also had a role in supplying arms in Bhusaval, Khandva and Surat,” the ATS said. The Ahmedabad Crime Branch had registered a case against them and others on April 4, 2003 under various sections of the IPC, the Arms Act, and the Prevention of Terrorism Act.They were today handed over to the Crime Branch for further investigation. The “jihadi conspiracy” was allegedly hatched to spread terror and eliminate leaders of the right-wing outfit VHP and other Hindu leaders to avenge the attacks on Muslims during the post-Godhra riots. The city crime branch had in 2003 lodged a case against 82 people in this connection, allegedly for receiving help from Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI and terror outfits Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad. Over a dozen accused are still absconding.

Gujarat ATS arrests two persons wanted in connection with 2003 ‘jihadi conspiracy’

Ahmedabad: Two men wanted in connection with the 2003 “jihadi conspiracy” hatched to avenge the post-Godhra riots have been arrested by Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad from Burhanpur in Madhya Pradesh, the ATS said on Monday.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Abdul Razak Abdul Rahim Sheikh and Mohammad Shakeel Sheikh, both aged 36, were arrested for allegedly supplying arms and ammunition to two persons in Ahmedabad in 2003 to avenge the attacks on Muslims in the state during the post-2002 Godhra riots.

“The ATS team probing the case received information that the two accused, Abdul Razak Abdul Rahim Sheikh and Mohammad Shakeel Sheikh, were residing in Burhanpur in Madhya Pradesh by changing their identity,” the ATS said in a statement.

The duo were working as mechanics at a garage in Burhanpur. The ATS kept a close watch on them before detaining them under Section 70 of the CrPC.

During questioning, their alleged role in supplying arms and ammunition to two persons in Ahmedabad came to light, following which they were arrested.

“The duo had provided 10 arms and ammunition to Mahmood Saiyed residing in Tokarsahi Pol and Farddebhai staying at Mastan Mohalla in Dariyapur. The accused also had a role in supplying arms in Bhusaval, Khandva and Surat,” the ATS said.

The Ahmedabad Crime Branch had registered a case against them and others on 4 April, 2003 under various sections of the IPC, the Arms Act, and the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

They were today handed over to the Crime Branch for further investigation.

The “jihadi conspiracy” was allegedly hatched to spread terror and eliminate leaders of the right-wing outfit VHP and other Hindu leaders to avenge the attacks on Muslims during the post-Godhra riots.

The city crime branch had in 2003 lodged a case against 82 people in this connection, allegedly for receiving help from Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI and terror outfits Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad. Over a dozen accused are still absconding.

Gujarat: Jignesh Mevani, face of Dalit protest against Una flogging, resigns from AAP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Activist Jignesh Mevani, a face of ‘Dalit Asmita Yatra’ in Gujarat, resigned from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Saturday.According to Times of India, his resignation comes after a series of allegations were levelled by the BJP, Dalit rights activists and NGOs that the protest over Una incident was driven by AAP.”I have resigned from AAP as people of the BJP, some Dalit rights activists and NGOs had started a negative campaign against the Dalit agitation just because of my AAP membership,” Mevani said.Mevani also stated that he knows the BJP will suffer because of these yatras and that it should suffer. “It was under BJP that Dalits suffered most. It is under their rule that atrocities against socially-backward communities have increased sharply. Cow vigilante groups are a gift of Modi,” he said at a press conference. “I want to preserve the sanctity of the movement we’ve just started. We don’t want the movement to suffer because of my association with any party,” he added.Demanding justice for their community following the Una flogging incident, hundreds of Dalits and members of various civil rights organisations participated the ‘Dalit Asmita Yatra’, a foot march that was undertaken from Ahmedabad to Una town of Gir Somnath district.On July 11, four Dalit youths were beaten up by cow vigilantes at Mota Samadhiyala village in Una taluka when they were allegedly skinning a dead cow. Though the youths pleaded that they were from the skinner community, the gau-rakshaks’ thrashed them alleging that they were involved in cow slaughter.The idea of the foot march from Ahmedabad to Una was floated by former IPS officer Rahul Sharma at a mass gathering of Dalits held in the city on July 31.

Gujarat: Now, Dalit boy beaten up after his father refused to remove carcass

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid violence and protests over the Una incident, a 15-year-old Dalit boy was allegedly beaten up in Gujarat state on Thursday, as his father refused to dispose off cattle carcasses in the village.According to IANS, the incident took place in Bhavda village of Daskroi taluka in Ahmedabad district.In his complaint to police, the victim’s father Dinish Parmar alleged that the two people — Sahil Thakore and Sarvarkhan Pathan — from the same village beat their son Harsh, while he was sitting with a friend in their colony.Police said that they have arrested two people. “A case has been registered under the Prevention of Atrocities (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) Act, besides other provisions of the Indian Penal Code,” Kanbha police station officer Govindbhai Parmar told IANS.Parmar had refused to remove the carcasses in response to a call by Dalit organisations protesting the assault on Una youths. “Removing carcasses was our traditional work but after the Una incident, I took a pledge to give it up. I now depend solely on the daily wages I earn for a living,” said Dinesh Parmar.
ALSO READ Post Una rally, Gujarat govt forms SIT to probe Thangadh firing on DalitsThe incident left Harsh traumatised and he was sent to his aunt’s house in Vastral area in Ahmedabad, the report said.On July 11, seven Dalit youths were brutally beaten up by a cow vigilante group at Mota Samadhiyala village in Una tehsil of Gir Somnath district. The assailants had alleged that the youths had killed the cow which they were skinning. The video of the incident went viral, sparking nation-wide protests.

Gujarat Dalit attacks: Two men thrash boy after father refuses to dispose cattle carcasses

Ahmedabad: A 15-year-old Dalit boy was allegedly beaten up late on Thursday evening by two men in Bhavda village of Daskroi taluka in Ahmedabad district ostensibly because his father refused to dispose off cattle carcasses in the village, police said on Saturday.

People protesting against the thrashing of Dalits. Reuters

People protesting against the thrashing of Dalits. Reuters

Two persons were arrested after the boy’s father, Dinesh Parmar, lodged an FIR against them. Kanbha police station officer Govindbhai Parmar told IANS that a case has been registered under the Prevention of Atrocities (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) Act, besides other provisions of the Indian Penal Code.

Complainant Dinesh Parmar told the police that his son Harsh, a standard 10 student, was sitting with a friend in their colony Vankarvas when the two accused — Sahil Thakore and Sarvarkhan Pathan — from the same village went there.

They started abusing Harsh for his father had refused to remove the carcasses in response to a call by Dalit organisations protesting the July 11 flogging of four youths in Una in Saurashtra.

Dalits in many villages in Gujarat have stopped cleaning up cattle carcasses after the Una incident as part of a pledge to do so. “Removing carcasses was our traditional work but after the Una incident, I took a pledge to give it up. I now depend solely on the daily wages I earn for a living,” said Dinesh Parmar.

PSO Govindbhai Parmar said the two accused persons had an argument with Harsh and his friend, following which they thrashed him. “It was a minor scuffle, but we still took Harsh to the hospital for a first-aid check,” he said.

The incident left Harsh traumatised and he was sent to his aunt’s house in Vastral area in Ahmedabad. “My son was traumatised by the incident and he was not ready to stay in the village. So I had to send him to my sister’s place,” said Dinesh Parmar.